Jeff's 23-man squad
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Last Updated: 02/05/14 12:33pm
Goalkeepers x 3
The goalkeepers are relatively obvious and I think the only choice is the number three after Joe Hart and Ben Foster. At first, I thought of picking Rob Green, who's not had a bad season at QPR, but I think John Ruddy should get the nod.
Defenders x 7
After revealing he'll name his preliminary squad on 12th May, Roy Hodgson admitted he was "concerned" about the fitness of Tottenham's Kyle Walker. If I'm totally honest, I wouldn't take the right-back with me anyway because I don't think he's a good enough defender, whereas, Glenn Johnson is the best right-back in the country and must go.
Roy has said that form in the last four games of the league isn't going to affect his choices, so in that sense injury shouldn't either, as long as the club's tell him who is fit enough to play. You can't afford to take too many injured players, but if Phil Jagielka is anywhere near full fitness, even if he hasn't played in the last few Everton games, he should certainly go because to me, he would definitely start.
As well as Jagielka my central defenders would include Phil Jones because he's versatile, Gary Cahill - who's had a good season - and then Chris Smalling, who's got his critics but he's versatile and can play right-back as well; he'd be a useful player to have in the squad. Then on the other side I'd have Leyton Baines and Luke Shaw.
Midfielders x 9
Jordan Henderson has earned his place in the squad from his performances this season and I'd like to see Steven Gerrard playing in the same role he has with Liverpool this year. Both of them, unquestionably, must go.
You really do need a blend of youth and experience but I want exciting players to go and that means Ross Barkley has to; it would be a terrible waste of an opportunity if he doesn't. I feel the same about Raheem Sterling. He didn't expect to get in the Liverpool team at the start of the season but now, you expect him to get in the England side. Adam Lallana has just been fabulous this season. He's got the sort of flair we've ached for in midfield for England. I would love to see him in the starting line up and I'm convinced that he should be. These three have to go.
But I would also take a bit of experience in James Milner - who can do a job in so many places - and I would take Gareth Barry, although I don't think he will go. Barry has been magnificent for Everton week-in, week-out. He's never been the quickest but he does a fantastic job for them and I don't see why he couldn't still do it for England, especially if he had a lot of young legs around him.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would also be in my nine across the middle even though he's had his injuries. Arsene Wenger is convinced he'll be a central midfielder but I don't think that will be his role if he goes to the World Cup.
Earlier in the season it looked as if we were blessed with so many good and exciting wide players and really, the only one who's gone on is Sterling. But I would take someone who has been utterly, totally, absolutely overlooked during recent times and that's Aaron Lennon. People forget about him and I'm not too sure what he's done wrong but he would certainly be in my squad. He's quick, has a lot of zip and plenty of experience as well.
Jack Wilshere is one of the players who would miss out. He hasn't had a great season, it's been stop-start, and I must say, he's carried the expectations of English football for some time now. Time is on his side and I think he's a genuinely good player but maybe he'll just benefit from having a summer where he's not slogging it out in a World Cup.
Strikers x 4
The forwards are blindingly obvious really - Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck are all absolute certainties.
There's only one left for me and again I think it's a no-brainer. With all due respect to Andy Carroll, Rickie Lambert is a better all-round footballer and has played such a significant part in our qualification; everyone remembers the pride he had when he came on the pitch in that England shirt and that fact that he played with a smile on his face. He'll also work well with Shaw and Lallana if they get the chance and of course, if we get to a penalty shoot-out we've got make sure he's on the field.
Don't get me wrong, if I was a centre-half I would not want to be playing against Carroll. But, he doesn't have a good goal-scoring record and I'm hoping, even if we get to the stage where with 10/15 minutes left we need a goal, we've not got to the stage where we're just lumping it forward towards a big man up front in the hope that a knock-down might come. I'm hoping that we will still be trying to play our football and trying to play through the likes of Barkley and Lallana.
We've got a squad with loads of flair and style and yes, it is hard to go to South America, but people shouldn't be over pessimistic about it. Let's look at the group: Italy are probably not what they were and if we don't beat Costa Rica we don't deserve to go any further. Uruguay have got a good side but we saw what can happen to Luis Suarez if you play him the right way, as Chelsea did in the Premier League.
Now, all that is easy for me to say because I'm not the man in charge, Roy is. It's easy for all of us pundits to say 'come on you've got these flair players, play them', or 'go and play the kids because they'll be better in two or four years' time', but Roy wouldn't be human if he wasn't thinking, 'in two or four years' time somebody else will get the benefit from that, not me'. Remember, he may not be the England manager any more if we end up getting thoroughly turned over.
Let's concentrate on our own game not the players we're playing against. Let's go and play with some flair and some style and some belief.
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