Coming up to the World Cup Finals, aspirations and hopes are high, tensions rise and excitement grows. Can that be said if you’re an England fan however? Tournament after tournament, the ‘Barmy Army’ travel all over the world to cheer on their stars in white, only to be left disappointed when they get outclassed on the field. Poor management and coaching? Lacklustre performances on the pitch? Not enough new players coming through the ranks? All questions which could lie to the answer of why England have never recapitulated that form of 66’.
Heading into the finals in Brazil, England manager, Roy Hodgson, has brought a few fresh faces into the squad. Superb seasons for Southampton trio Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw have all earned them a place in the squad to participate in the land of the beautiful game.
Other new names come in the form of Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling who offer the Three Lions new attacking options, with the Liverpool duo already working well with club captain, Steven Gerrard.
Old foes such as James Milner and Phil Jones are still regarded as an essential part of England’s squad, despite the fact other players have had a good season. It is clear how there are plenty of attacking options within the squad, the question lies with the defence.
Chris Smalling and Jones haven’t had the best of campaigns for Manchester United. Glen Johnson is now the county’s first choice right-back due to the unfortunate injury to Kyle Walker, with England’s only solid centre-back pairing consisting of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka.
John Stones is another youngster who has shot to fame over the last few months and has proved to be a good partner to Jagielka at Everton. Versatile enough to play at both centre and right-back, the Barnsley born defender looked to be in with more of a chance of making the 23-man squad than that of a select few who had been chosen.
Curtis Davis is another defender who has had a superb season with his club, Hull City, captaining them to the FA Cup final and Premier League survival. A left sided centre half, the option of having him in the squad would’ve given Jagielka healthy competition for a starting place, as well as reassuring the fans that the defence has good strength in depth.
Despite the ‘what ifs’ and ‘maybes’, England have reached the World Cup Finals, with only seven matches between them and the most coveted trophy in footballing history being in their hands. Another gold star above the Three Lions would also do nicely!
Come on England!