West Ham United’s England prospects

International

As the much anticipated World Cup approaches, I am sure that if any of the other nations watched what I did on Wednesday night, they will certainly not be quaking in their boots over the prospect of a match up with England.

The expectant England fans were pleased when the in-form Liverpool striker, Daniel Sturridge netted from a well-placed Adam Lallana cross eight minutes from time. The result, albeit a win for the home side does not tell the whole story, in fact quite the contrary.

England were up against a relatively poor side in Denmark, who although they are ranked 20th in the FIFA World Rankings showed no sort of attacking threat, with Nicklas Bendtner leading the line. I will say no more.

The England players, and in particular the midfielders who were looking to bolster their chances of a seat on the plane to Brazil in the summer did not do themselves any favours. This was their last opportunity to showcase not only to Roy Hodgson, but also the ever-hopeful nation what they can do before the 30-man squad is selected.

All this friendly seemed to do was to increase the doubt in my mind as to England’s ability to progress from the group, but it also made me question my belief in Hodgson himself. It baffles me how Tom Cleverley is starting ahead of the likes of Mark Noble. The ever-present Hammers man has played well all season and without tempting fate, has not missed a penalty since 2009.

I am not suggesting that a player should be selected based on one attribute, such as his penalty taking ability. However the inspirational midfielder offers so much more than just this. His passion alone is something that the England team are lacking, after all, a lot can be said for a player who wears his shirt with pride.

Andy Carroll is another man that Hodgson is afraid of taking a gamble on. The big centre forward offers something completely different to that of Rooney or Sturridge. And although Carroll has had his critics, no one can argue that he would bring a different dimension to the team. Rooney undoubtedly will start for England, most likely alongside Daniel Sturridge excluding injury. And I am not for one minute saying that Carroll should start ahead of either of these, but if England are a goal down with half an hour remaining, I know who I would rather be coming on out of Danny Welbeck and Andy Carroll, and I am sure that I speak on behalf of much of the nation.

Wednesday night’s friendly was a great opportunity for Hodgson to take a gamble on a few players. Instead of only fielding players from certain clubs, Hodgson should branch out and select players based on form, not merely who they play for.

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