ENGLISH FOOTBALL needs Uncle Roy to morph into Robespierre. It requires revolution, rather than evolution, someone wielding a broadsword rather than fiddling with a screwdriver.
In that spirit, and with due respect to the transitional leadership of Steven Gerrard, who will sadly be a spent force by 2014, here is my England squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil, assuming, of course, we qualify.
Joe Hart: Has the potential to become England’s Iker Casillas. His natural authority suits the captaincy, and his youth suggests he will break Peter Shilton’s 125-cap record.
Kyle Walker: A diligent, unspoiled character who fits the mould of Hodgson’s England. Quick, inventive and increasingly secure defensively.
Gary Cahill: Has the talent and temperament to respond to the cruelly timed injury that kept him out this time around. 2012-13 has the look of a breakthrough season, for both club and country.
Phil Jones: Puzzling lack of faith in his ability as a defensive midfield option meant Euros were frustrating. He will quickly develop in his best position, in central defence.
Ashley Cole: Never seems to enjoy his work, but he is relentlessly good at it. Though he’ll be 33 by Brazil, he may be the exception that proves the rule about not trusting the golden generation.
Ross Barkley: Being developed with exceptional sensitivity by David Moyes at Everton. With great touch, acute vision, flair and physicality, he is the complete midfield package.
Jack Wilshere: Cross your fingers and pray injury doesn’t prevent him becoming the player around whom Hodgson can build. If fit, he’ll be the star.
Raheem Sterling (pictured above): A wild card, who will respond to the intelligence of Brendan Rodgers’ coaching at Liverpool. Has Walcott’s pace, but a better football brain.
Wayne Rooney: Taken on trust, without any real faith. Will come under pressure for the No10 role at Manchester United from Nick Powell, who may succeed him for England.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: Symbol of an Arsenal team that will win something, for a change. His mobility and intelligence suit him to a fluid role in a front three.
Danny Welbeck: Remember the name – Daniel Nii Tackie Mensah Welbeck. He will be as big a star as Rooney by the time England land in Rio.
Squad members: Jack Butland, David Stockdale, Carl Jenkinson, Chris Smalling, Steven Caulker, Kieran Gibbs, Jordan Henderson, Jack Rodwell, Theo Walcott, Nick Powell, Andy Carroll, Will Keane.
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