McManaman in England picture

15 November 2013 09:46

Roy Hodgson says the race for England's World Cup squad is so open that even Wigan midfielder Callum McManaman has an outside chance of making the plane to Brazil.

England manager Hodgson will field an experimental XI on Friday evening when Chile come to Wembley.

Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Ross Barkley will have a chance to impress in one of the three remaining games until Hodgson has to pick his squad for Brazil 2014.

There always seems to be a surprise inclusion or omission in the run-up to major tournaments, but Hodgson threw a shock name in to the hat in the form of 22-year-old Wigan midfielder McManaman on Thursday night.

The midfielder was named man of the match in last season's FA Cup final, but he is now plying his trade in the second tier of English football.

"I can't honestly say I've got 18 names stamped with five more to come. There is a lot that can happen between now and May," Hodgson said.

"We've got a few on the fringes who we look at, like Callum McManaman.

"We were talking about him the other day. He was flying for Wigan at the end of last season and then he got that unfortunate injury, so he's one we'll have a look at.

"We have been following his progress.

"There are certain players like that who aren't out of our radar.

"I would be lying if I didn't say he has a lot to do (to make the World Cup squad), but it is certainly not impossible."

For now, McManaman will have to stick to watching England on the television.

Friday night will be a chance for the likes of Rodriguez and Lallana, who will both definitely play some part, to show the manager what they can do.

Hodgson stressed he would be taking no "draconian measures" if either of the duo failed to impress, but there is no escaping the fact that performances in the games against Chile and Germany will have a big bearing on World Cup squad selection.

"It's going to be a big night for them if they get their chance and unfortunately if they do fail spectacularly and do really badly, it will be held against them," the England manager said.

"But I would like to think that I will make my judgements on these players not purely on their success or relative failure during the 90 minutes but on what feeling I have got for them during these get-togethers and also what I see of them week in, week out in the Premier League."

With Steven Gerrard out through injury, Frank Lampard will captain the side. Either Fraser Forster or John Ruddy will start in goal while Wayne Rooney or Jermain Defoe will lead the line after Rickie Lambert was ruled out with a muscle injury.

Source: PA