England - Team Profile
They won it y’know? Yep, on home soil, against West Germany back in ‘66
England’s Daniel Sturridge (right) and Wayne Rooney will hope to strike up a profitable partnership in Brazil. Photograph: Phil Noble / Reuters
Manager: Roy Hodgson
Best finish: Winners (1966)
World Cup record: Played 62, Won 26, Drawn 20, Lost 16
They won it y’know? Yep, on home soil, against West Germany back in ‘66. They’ve long since let it go, of course, but those were the glory days for Alf Ramsey’s and his men. Since then, it’s been a series of unfortunate events, mostly involving Germans, Argentinians and often penalties. Bobby Robson came closest to emulating Ramsey when he lead a primed and talented crop to the semi-finals in Italy in 1990, but again they were found out by the Germans as well as their fear of penalty spots. Last time out, in South Africa, they were second to the USA in a group that also contained Algeria and Slovenia, before getting humbled 4-1 by … the Germans.
Hodgson’s MO is a bit up in the air. Liverpool’s remarkable progress this season has led to calls for Hodgson to back their dynamic talent in the shape of Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, in front of captain Steven Gerrard. If they were to follow the Brendan Rodgers model, that would leave space for Wayne Rooney alongside Sturridge and, perhaps, Southampton’s Adam Lallana, while Raheem Sterling (19) could be promoted into the key role behind the front two. That would be a big leap for Hodgson, however, and against Uruguay and Italy, a 4-2-3-1, with Henderson or Jack Wilshere beside Gerrard may be more secure.
All Star - Wayne Rooney
It’s quite possible that one of England’s bright young things could set the world alight in Brazil, just like Rooney did at Euro 2004 and Michael Owen did at France ‘98. However, in the absence of that certainty, Rooney still looks like he will have to be a key player for England if they are to progress, not least, because no manager has had the guts to drop him when he hasn’t performed and England will not succeed if they are a man down. Rooney’s quality is beyond doubt, his consistency is a concern. England’s fate could depend on which Rooney turns up.
County Colours - Kildare
Finally realising they are not as good as they thought they were.
Pundit’s Corner - Alan Hansen: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you won’t win anything with kids.”
Hodgson has, to his credit, opted for a young squad in the face of incontrovertible evidence that a new wave was readying itself to wash away the old. There’s still experience there, in Gerrard, Rooney and Lampard, but Brazil is undoubtedly a chance to shine for a number of youngsters looking to cap off excellent seasons for their clubs. That said, it’s difficult to see an England side with what looks a potentially leaky defence cope against the tournament savvy of the Italians and formidable Suarez-Cavani partnership, if, indeed, we get to see it. Indeed, the heat alone, could make Costa Rica a tough prospect. Third in Group D.
Goalkeepers: 1 Joe Hart (Manchester City), 13 Ben Foster (West Brom), 22 Fraser Forster (Celtic/Sco)
Defenders: 2 Glen Johnson (Liverpool), 3 Leighton Baines (Everton), 5 Gary Cahill (Chelsea), 6 Phil Jagielka (Everton), 12 Chris Smalling (Manchester United), 16 Phil Jones (Manchester United), 23 Luke Shaw (Southampton).
Midfielders: 4 Steven Gerrard (Liverpool, capt), 7 Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), 8 Frank Lampard (Chelsea), 14 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), 15 Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), 17 James Milner (Manchester City), 19 Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), 20 Adam Lallana (Southampton), 21 Ross Barkley (Everton).
Forwards: 9 Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), 10 Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), 11 Danny Welbeck (Manchester United), 18 Rickie Lambert (Southampton).
ENGLAND (v Italy): 1 Joe Hart; 2 Glen Johnson, 5 Gary Cahill, 6 Phil Jagielka, 3 Leighton Baines; 4 Steven Gerrard, 14 Jordan Henderson (7 Jack Wilshere, 73 mins); 11 Danny Welbeck (21 Ross Barkley, 61 mins), 19 Raheem Sterling, 10 Wayne Rooney; 9 Daniel Sturridge (20 Adam Lallana, 80 mins).
ENGLAND (v Uruguay): 1 Joe Hart; 2 Glen Johnson, 5 Gary Cahill, 6 Phil Jagielka, 3 Leighton Baines; 4 Steven Gerrard (yc), 14 Jordan Henderson (18 Rickie Lambert, 87 mins); 19 Raheem Sterling (21 Ross Barkley, 64 mins), 10 Wayne Rooney, 11 Danny Welbeck (20 Adam Lallana, 71 mins); 9 Daniel Sturridge.
ENGLAND (v Costa Rica): 13 Ben Foster; 16 Phil Jones, 5 Gary Cahill, 12 Chris Smalling, 23 Luke Shaw; 8 Frank Lampard; 17 James Milner (10 Wayne Rooney, 76 mins), 21 Ross Barkley (yc), 7 Jack Wilshere (4 Steven Gerrard, 73 mins), 20 Adam Lallana (yc) (19 Raheem Sterling, 62 mins); 9 Daniel Sturridge.