It’s official, we are now in a World Cup year. Replica shirts sales are on the rise, fans are putting weddings on hold and footballers will wait nervously in anticipation before committing to their summer holidays.
And this year more young England starlets than ever before will be crossing their fingers and hoping for that phone call come May. Roy Hodgson will announce his squad ahead of a friendly against Peru at Wembley, before jetting his side off for a training camp in Miami. But the plane is far from full and there are more than a few vying for a place on board.
The likes of in-form Gareth Barry and Tom Huddlestone will be hoping for their first call up since 2012, whilst some of these Young Lions could get their first taste of tournament football in Brazil.
The news of Theo Walcott’s injury keeping him out of the World Cup was a huge blow for Roy Hodgson but there are a number of exciting prospects to fill in down that right hand side. Andros Townsend is well placed for a trip to Rio, but one man who has a fantastic chance is teenager Raheem Sterling.
The 19-year-old made his senior England debut in 2012 and has shone for Liverpool in recent months. Captain Steven Gerrard has already tipped him as a perfect replacement for Theo, and with technical ability prioritised in Brazil, he could be the perfect fit for the Three Lions.
Hodgson gave the England Under-21 starlet hope of making the first team squad this winter – stating that if the former Man United player impresses in the second half of the season he may come into consideration for Brazil. Morrison has recently joined up with Harry Redknapp at QPR in search of game time after falling slightly out of favour at parent club West Ham.
However, competition in the England midfield is tough. Adam Lallana has already proven he’s capable on the international stage, whilst Ross Barkley looks all but certain to join Gerrard and Lampard if he continues to light up the Premier League.
The Burundi-born striker has still to earn a secure starting spot for West Brom, but when he has featured, the Baggies fans have been impressed. The 20 year old burst onto the scene in sensational style earlier in the season, scoring the winner against Manchester United at Old Trafford in September and the forward has since scored six in just four games for the Under-21s.
Hodgson will be well aware of his talents having spent over a year at the Hawthorns and he could complete a strike force which is likely to include Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.
Lambert could join up with the aforementioned strike force having been a regular in the national squad throughout 2013. The Liverpool-born hit man has done his apprenticeship in the Football League, working his way up from Rochdale in League Two before becoming a household name at Southampton.
Age could be a factor in Hodgson’s decision with him approaching the end of his career, but he’s proven throughout the last few season that he’s a much more consistent performer than West Ham centre-forward Andy Carroll.
Although expectations of an England triumph in South America this summer is at an all-time low if you fancy any of these contenders to fire the Three Lions to glory then you can have a punt with Betvictor who currently price Roy’s boys at 30/1 to lift the World Cup for the second time. Not a bad price for all the hopeless optimists out there.