Football

Others with a point to prove

ROSS BARKLEY

Described as the "best young English talent I've seen" by his Everton manager Roberto Martinez after a dynamic display capped by a sublime goal against Manchester City recently, the 20-year-old is Hodgson's World Cup wildcard and could force his way into the team with some strong friendly displays.

With just one full season in the Premier League under his belt and a handful of England caps, Barkley remains something of an unknown quantity at the highest level, but his combination of poise and power makes it easy to see why some predict he could burst onto the international scene in the style of Paul Gascoigne at Italia'90.


RAHEEM STERLING

The Liverpool winger's displays in training since linking up with the England squad at the end of the season have thrust him firmly into Hodgson's thinking for a starting place.

The 19-year-old had already caught the eye with a late burst of form during the domestic campaign and the coaching staff noted his attitude and confidence while at the training camp at Vale do Lobo in Portugal last week.

He can operate out wide or at the front of a midfield diamond.


JACK WILSHERE

When the Arsenal midfielder was handed the No. 7 shirt in England's World Cup squad, some pundits took it as a sign he was in line to start in Brazil.

But Wilshere, who finally made two substitute appearances at the end of the season after fracturing his foot in a friendly win over Denmark in March, faces stiff competition from Frank Lampard and Jordan Henderson for a starting place in Brazil.


DANIEL STURRIDGE

The Liverpool striker formed a deadly alliance with Luis Suarez in the Premier League this season and now he needs to emulate that partnership with Wayne Rooney in an England shirt.

Sturridge netted the winner in England's last friendly against Denmark, but, speaking this week about his likely forward line in Brazil, Hodgson said: "We've not seen a lot of the Rooney-Sturridge partnership because they haven't had a lot of time to play together and now's our chance."


PHIL JAGIELKA

The Everton centre back was dogged by a hamstring injury in the second half of the season, missing two months before returning for the final two games of the campaign.

He has been expected to start alongside Chelsea's Gary Cahill at the heart of England's defence and he will have to prove he is fit enough to nail down a starting place.- AFP.