Outside chance: five players who could still make England's flight to Brazil 2014
The auditions are over and there are no more international matches to be player before England boss Roy Hodgson is tasked with picking his 23-man squad that will travel to Brazil in search of World Cup glory.
Will it be case of 'better the devil you know', or will Hodgson throw some wild cards into the mix in a bid to rid England of their 'underachievers' title. Below we look at the chances of five hopefuls looking to get their chance in the sun.
Ross Barkley (Everton)
The emergence of Ross Barkley can largely be put down to new Everton boss Roberto Martinez, as the Spaniard has put his trust in the young Englishman which has seen the starlet progress tactically and mentally. In full-flow the 20-year-old has the ability to power his way through the centre of the opposition, using his strength and two-footedness in way that hasn't been seen by a player in an England shirt for some time. And although Barkley misses the consistency of some of the older players, his fearlessness and imagination could be what Hodgson is missing.
Adam Lallana (Southampton)
Southampton currently have a fine crop of young English talent just waiting for the call from Hodgson for this summers World Cup and the England manager should seriously be considering Saints captain Adam Lallana. No English midfielder has more goals than Lallana this season and only current England captain Steven Gerrard has more assists. The 25-year-old has been given a chance in various England fixtures recently and hasn't failed to impress, always looking for the forward pass and using his creativity to craft chances for the teams forwards. Quite frankly I would be shocked if Lallana was overlooked by Roy Hodgson for this years tournament.
Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
Sterling has been an integral part of Liverpool's impressive title challenge this season and was given the man of the match award on his Wembley debut against Denmark and with Arsenal's Theo Walcott out of the running there is most certainly a slot open for the 19-year-old. His pace and direct style of play would make him a danger against any opposition defence although with other wide players vying for a place on Hodgson's plane he may have to rely on injury to others to secure an invite.
Luke Shaw (Southampton)
Another Saints youngster who is excelling at club level is Luke Shaw, touted as the next Ashley Cole and although Shaw has been the talk of the town, with the Premier League's top clubs taking a keen interest, he has arguably the two best top flight left-backs in front of him, in the form of Baines and Cole. So much like Raheem Sterling, injuries to other senior players could give Shaw a chance of going to Brazil.
Fabian Delph (Aston Villa)
24-year-old Fabian Delph is improving all the time at Aston Villa and has been one of their stand out players in an otherwise below par season. The midfielder displayed intelligence and skill in Villa's recent win over Chelsea and plays in a position on the left of the park where England are always need of more cover. Out of all the players mentioned in this article Delph is the rank outsider and his inclusion in the 23-man squad would come as a surprise to most.
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