Out with the old and in with the new as England World Cup squad is announced
With another scintillating Premier League season over, attention now turns to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
With the squad announced just a day after club duties in the top flight finished, speculation immediately began on who would and wouldn't make the final cut.
As with today's modern culture, social networks were rife with rumours and leaks about who Roy Hodgson would select. Of the "Golden Generation", only Gerrard, Lampard, Rooney and Ashley Cole remained. The latter revealed via his twitter account his retirement from international football, thus the conclusion that he would not be in the team.
The tweet also revealed that due to Cole's absence, Hodgson had chosen to go with a younger team. The left-backs taking the former Arsenal players place on the plane would be Leighton Baines and young Southampton starlet Luke Shaw. Shaw would be one of three Saints players included. The impressive Adam Lallana and striker Rickie Lambert would be the other two. Team mate Jay Rodriguez was thought to have a good chance of joining if not for his unfortunate lengthy injury.
Other young inclusions were Everton's Ross Barkley who has shone under Roberto Martinez this season. Raheem Sterling has enjoyed a successful season with league runners-up Liverpool as well as club mate Jordan Henderson.
Celtic keeper Fraser Forster is included for his first major tournament with his country. Ben Foster is also included as the last of the three goal keepers. Foster has had a controversial England career after initially retire from international duty a few years ago. Whether the two stoppers get any game time in place of Joe Hart is another topic.
Despite a below par season, Manchester United Defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are included in the squad as well as forwards Danny Welbeck and Wayne Rooney, although the regular Michael Carrick is relegated to the stand-by list.
So the big question is, has Hodgson picked a good enough squad? There is a fine distinction between youth and experience which perhaps England have lacked in the past few tournaments. Should Manchester United players be included despite their poor season? With Walcott injured should Aaron Lennon have been included as a similar replacement?
With anticipation at its highest level and with World Cup fever building evermore, England will be hoping to have a successful campaign and will be banking on the achievements their players have reached with their clubs. Just maybe, this is their year to finally win back the golden trophy.
They'll also cross their fingers they don't have to endure penalties...
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