The race to this summer’s World Cup is going to be one of the most interesting in recent years of international tournament. Teams like Brazil, Argentina, England, Uruguay, Belgium and many others want to prove a point at an international tournament. Brazil has already shown what they are capable of at international level, but it is an important tournament for Argentina and England. Although Argentina has the world’s best strike force and Messi who wants to show his value to his country, they lack an extra dimension in the defence which will play an important role in determining whether they will win or lose.
For me, England is one of the dark horses in this tournament. They have enough unproven quality to win World Cup for them. They have a mixed combination of golden generation and the young ones which can provide an extra dimension for Roy Hodgson to exploit. The so called big four is going to play a major role for England this summer.
Liverpool is still one of the biggest clubs in England. Emergence of Liverpool to the top four is must not only for club but also for country. The club has been a major source of players for national squad for many years. The club has not been in the top four for the past few seasons, but still provides three major players- Steven Gerrard (Captain), Glen Johnson (Right-Back) and Daniel Sturridge (Striker). There is no doubt over their quality, but their link up with Lampard (Carrick or Barry), Walcott (Milner) and Rooney respectively is most important.
Liverpool has won many trophies under Gerrard’s captaincy and now his leadership at country level can prove to be a deciding factor in crunch situations. He motivates his teammates through his game and brings the best out of them. The way he supported Rooney publicly has given him confidence and he repaid the faith shown by his captain by scoring the openers against Montenegro and Poland.
In near future, Raheem Sterling will also be there in the first team. Jordan Henderson is a player who I want to see this season. His form can be important both for Liverpool and England. If he can bang in 10-15 goals and add 4-5 assists this season, it will not be a surprise to see Liverpool finish 2nd or 3rd in the league and Henderson getting a call-up for the World Cup squad. He might be next Lampard for England.
We all know and especially, Mourinho knows what a revived Rooney can do. He is the heart of United and his form is going to be crucial. If he can somehow manage to bring United into the top four which right now seems an impossible task for him as well as Moyes, then that is going to be the highest talking point of the season. He can score goals with ease and his contribution to his teammates’ performance is very crucial. For that, the management has to show faith in him and there will be no better place than United to develop his skills.
Evans, Smalling, Carrick, Welbeck, Jones and Cleverley are the other players who can contribute to the national side. But, I am not expecting them to have a great impact in the national squad simply because of United’s current form. Talking of Januzaj at this point is irrelevant, considering the confusion regarding his nationality.
Finally, a season for Arsenal has started which is promising to bring silverware to their cabinet. One of the major factors is the signing of Mesut Ozil. It is inevitable to talk about Ozil while talking about Arsenal. What a signing it has been. Ozil brings in the much required competition and class to the team. Everybody is saying that too many foreign players will side-line England’s youth but the reality is different. Players like Wilshere and Chamberlain are going to be hugely benefited by the arrival of Ozil. For replacing the likes of Cazorla and Ozil from first team they have to immensely improve their game. It will not be surprising if we see a different aspect to Wilshere’s game at the end of season.
Walcott can be a surprise for teams playing against England. Roy Hodgson prefers an organized play from his players. Such kind of play at times, leads them to sit back and counter. He can provide the lethal counter attacks which at times, are missing in England’s game. Also, his goal scoring abilities cannot be neglected. Gibbs is also a player to watch but not for this World Cup.
Once the loved one, now a great one is in London. Mourinho is the manager which will decide the fate of England in the WC. If he succeeds to bring the best out of Terry, Cahill and Lampard then it will solve many hurdles of England.
Roy Hodgson does not prefer a high defensive line against a quality side instead he prefers a tight shape from his players. Mourinho also does not prefer a high defensive line especially with Terry and Cahill. Both of them do not want to leave space behind them for strikers.
The major reason of fallout of AVB at Chelsea was because he wanted a high defensive line from his players. Terry, Lampard and Cech were the players who struggled most due to that. Since, Terry lacks pace; his partnership with Cahil is better suited when they defend near the goal. With that kind of positioning strikers can’t outplay them with pace and both of them are defensively so strong that they can’t be beaten easily by one two’s.
It has been seen that an established central defensive pairing at club level is preferred more often by countries and that proved to be a good decision for them. Thus, Chelsea can provide a stable central defensive partnership for them.
At left back England have their all-time favourite Ashley Cole. He is the player who can drive England’s morale in low times just like he did with Chelsea against Barcelona in the second leg of the UCL semi-final in 2012.
This year BPL is so open that the so called big four can’t guarantee a top four finish, but they can make sure that the roars of three lions will be audible to other teams.