Steven Gerrard will captain his England squad on their quest for glory in Rio de Janiero with Roy Hodgson naming a young 23 man squad. Many believe the decision could work in favour of the Three Lions with stars such as Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley hoping to stake a claim on the big stage.
Below we profile the selected players who will have the hopes of a nation on their shoulders
Joe Hart – Manchester City’s goalkeeper will be England’s number one again this summer despite being dropped at the start of the season. Recovered good form towards the end of the season and takes his place as number one.
Ben Foster – West Brom struggled during the campaign but Foster had another solid season at the Hawthorns. Foster would probably number one if not for Hart.
Fraser Forster – Celtic’s shot stopper scooped his third league medal in Scotland and claims his ticket to Brazil. The 26 year old is third choice keeper and will spent his time in Rio watching from the side lines.
Leighton Baines – Ashley Cole’s omission from the England squad all but secures Baines’ place as England’s first choice left back. The 28 year old produced another fruitful season which ended with Everton in Europe and Baines ahead of Cole in the pecking order.
Luke Shaw – A bold but deserved inclusion in the squad with some excellent perfomances for Southampton which led to the 18 year old being included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year. It’s been quite a year for Shaw who could be set for a move to a top four club after the tournament’s end.
Gary Cahill – The Chelsea defender has been essential to Jose Mourinho’s side this season and will play a key role at the heart of England’s defence. Barring injury, Cahill will be the man that Hodgson uses to provide a solid platform to build upon in Brazil.
Phil Jagielka – Jagielka should partner Cahill in defence after playing a crucial role in Everton’s push for a top four finish last season. A timely return to fitness in May should see the 28 year old take his place in the starting eleven.
Glen Johnson – Johnson will be England’s first choice right back with Kyle Walker omitted after suffering from a persistent pelvic injury whilst playing for Spurs. Johnson’s defensive abilities have been questioned this season but remains a good attacking outlet down the right side.
Phil Jones – Jones’ inclusion in the squad is not 100% guaranteed as he continues his recovery from a shoulder injury picked up in the final game of the season. Jones can operate at right back, centre back or in midfield but will be replaced by John Stones should he be deemed unfit to compete in Rio.
Chris Smalling – In an up and down season at Old Trafford, Smalling booked his ticket despite failure to nail down a starting spot for Manchester United. Smalling is another utility option in defence and should play back-up to the starting XI.
Steven Gerrard – Liverpool and England’s captain will lead the Three Lions after a stellar season for the Reds. The deep-lying midfielder will attempt to guide England through a tricky group and hope to put his Premier League misery behind him and perform in the white shirt.
Frank Lampard – This will be Lampard’s last international tournament and the former West Ham man has decided he will leave Chelsea with QPR and New York City FC waiting in the wings. Lampard has continued to make an impact for club and country despite his advancing years.
Jordan Henderson – Henderson’s rapid development has seen at Anfield has seen him grow into an essential part of Brendan Rodgers’ side. After struggling early into his spell at Merseyside, Henderson has thrived in the engine room and could stake a claim for a starting spot.
Ross Barkley – Barkley’s name on the squad list has delighted many after an outstanding season for the Toffees. Barkley’s energetic and technical displays have been rewarded with a ticket on the plane and the 20 year old could be a secret weapon for Hodgson.
Adam Lallana – Lallana’s fine form for the Saints this season has led to his inclusion in the squad as well as a potential move to Premier League runners up Liverpool. The Reds have bid £25m for the attacking midfielder who has impressed when given the chance on the international stage.
James Milner – Milner’s club future remains uncertain but remains a key asset for England. Unlikely to start but remains an energetic, versatile option for Hodgson; who experimented the former Aston Villa man at right back in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador.
Jack Wilshere – Manchester United legend Paul Scholes claims Wilshere has not developed during his time at Arsenal after bursting onto the scene as a teenager. Scholes has a point despite playing 40 games this season for the Gunners, Wilshere has failed to improve upon standards he has already set.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled with injury this campaign but was terrific under Arsene Wenger. A knee injury during the friendly against Ecuador could have dashed his hopes for game time in Rio despite remaining positive over the setback.
Raheem Sterling – Sterling has been a revelation at Liverpool combing electrifying pace and sound dribbling ability which terrified defences all season long. The youngster has also dramatically improved his finishing and is a valuable asset for the squad and could be set for a starting role despite his red card against Ecuador.
Rickie Lambert – It has been a massive year for Rickie Lambert. Another fantastic season for Southampton saw the 32 year old given the opportunity to represent his country; one he grabbed with two hands scoring an international debut goal. Lambert also secured his dream move to boyhood club Liverpool 17 years after leaving the club as a teenager.
Danny Welbeck – Welbeck’s club form has been forgettable this season with the United forward scoring just one goal for his club since January. However, Welbeck has shown good form for England and impress potential suitors with his future looking uncertain.
Wayne Rooney – Rooney will be hoping it’s third time lucky and that this World Cup is a turning point in his international career. The former Everton striker signed a £300,000 per week contract with the Red Devils and had another season of ups and downs. His end of season tally was respectable but form was good and bad throughout the season. Some fans are calling for Rooney to be dropped from the side all together but England’s highest goal-scorer since Euro 2012 still has a massive role to play.
Daniel Sturridge – Sturridge heads into his first World Cup on the back of a sensational season at Liverpool. The 24 year old struck 21 Premier League goals and combined with Luis Suarez to create one of the deadliest striking partnerships in world football. Sturridge will hoping for similar chemistry with Rooney despite not clicking so far but if no solution is found, the former Chelsea man should lead the line for the Three Lions.
What do you think about England’s 23 man World Cup squad? Do you think the Three Lions will be successful in Brazil? Comment Below!
By Marcus Banks
Follow me on Twitter - @MarcusBanks7