If England want to have a successful World Cup, then a blend of young and enthusiastic players with a more experienced old guard is vital. So when England have the likes of Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley in the squad, they may just have got it right to counter the exuberance with the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.
Some fans have questioned the inclusion of Lampard, as they believe that he is ‘too old’ for one last World Cup. One thing for sure, Lampard certainly doesn’t have the legs for a 90 minutes of an adrenaline fueled game against Brazil anymore, but he has the mind of a good footballer and can certainly take a set piece. It’s not just that, Lampard is very good just outside the box, whether he’s crossing in for Rickie Lambert or going on his own for a trademark thunder shot.
Where Lampard is weakest, is defensive midfield. This isn’t much of a problem, as Lampard could play as a more advanced midfielder. Putting Gerrard in a deep lying midfield role would protect the defensive, but having two of the slower midfielders on the pitch at the same time might be disastrous. It’s one or the other. Otherwise, it may become a massive slip-up for England, something Gerrard will be hoping not to do again this year.
Sterling has lightning feet. Whether he is using those to trick a defender, or blaze right past him, he’s something special for such a young player. He is so dynamic and this will shake up some of the defences that England will play against. His Liverpool teammate, Jordan Henderson, will be another young player in the team. Henderson is incredibly athletic and can make it up and down the pitch for the entire game. He has also shown he can create and score goals last season, grabbing four goals and seven assists. Barkley is yet one more young player in the England squad, and yet another midfielder who could play an important role for England. He certainly has a good shot on him, but his energy and dribbling can be very useful in the final third.
England have a range of strikers, from the youngest Danny Welbeck (aged 23) to the eldest, Rickie Lambert (aged 32). Wayne Rooney is England’s main goal source. He has scored 40 goals in 91 international appearances, but none in his 8 World Cup matches.
Can Rooney finally get his first World Cup goal? Surely he will. His international record outside of World Cups is very good indeed. He has shown himself as a fantastic footballer in the Premier league, he just needs to carry this form into the World Cup. England do not necessarily rely on him, but an in-form Rooney is a massive threat for any world class defence to withstand. Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck have also been good for their respective teams in the domestic league, but haven’t been amazingly hot for England yet. Sturridge did show a glimmer of class when he scored a beautiful curling goal against Peru. Lambert will be a game changer for England. He is a different kind of striker to the rest of the arsenal that England have. At the age of 32, he isn’t the quickest, but he certainly knows where the goal is, and England will definitely reap the benefits of including him in the squad.
Can the Three Lions win the World Cup? No. But, English success will come by good football, and all importantly getting out of the group stages and seeing how far they can get through the knock-outs.
A football match is won on the day, on the pitch, not on paper…so who knows, perhaps England will surprise a few at the World Cup 2014.
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