Sport

Roy Hodgson’s World Cup 2014 Wild Cards

clyne-1

Nathaniel Clyne
While Glen Johnson seems to have right-back tied down when fit, the currently undisputed second choice Kyle Walker, while possessing a potent threat going forward, lacks the defensive qualities required.

A healthy replacement would be Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne who, alongside compatriot Luke Shaw, is part of the Premier League’s best defence. Everton’s John Stones and Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson may also have designs on this position in the future.

For the time being Clyne, who has contributed to the Saints’ six clean sheets this season, seems the most suited to challenge Walker’s position as deputy.

Steven Caulker
A talking point during England’s recent friendlies was Hodgson’s lack of a defined central defensive partnership. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are the clear favourites but neither possess the natural leadership skills required to shore up a defence of their own. Now Cardiff captain, Caulker hasn’t yet been given a chance to build on his impressive first international cap, but Brazil 2014 may be the time.

Dominant in the air, adept at organising a back line, and physically capable of dealing with the most hulking South American centre forwards, Caulker should now be considered a genuine contender ahead of the versatile, but under-performing, duo of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

James Ward-Prowse
If there is a hole to be filled by the omission of vapid, reputation-choice Tom Cleverley, Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse should be considered. Ward-Prowse is part of a select crop of young English players who boast the ball retention skills that forward-thinking managers savour.

The head of a group with the likes of Will Hughes and Tom Carroll, the midfielder has caught the eye of many with impressive displays in a successful start to the Premier League season.

Under the stewardship of Mauricio Pochettino, Ward-Prowse is well poised to enjoy a flourishing development.

03/12/2013

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