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Aston Villa player hoping to sneak into England's World Cup squad

The Villan is hoping a good season for his club can bring him into Roy Hodgson's plans.

Gabriel Agbonlahor currently has three England caps to his name but is hoping that some good form could bring him into contention for a place on the plane to Brazil.

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Agbonlahor, though, hasn't featured for England since October 2009, when he played against Belarus. All of the 27-year-old's caps came under Fabio Capello. He made an impressive debut against Germany in Berlin and was unlucky to have a goal disallowed. His other appearance was against Spain in a friendly which he played 75 minutes of.

Since then he has not made an appearance in a squad, but has not given up hope of being named in the 23-man squad for next summer. Gabby has yet to score a goal yet this season and only managed nine in the league last year, but he has become more of a winger than a striker under current Villa manager Paul Lambert.

His pace has always been apparent, and playing wide for Villa has worked well, providing able support to Christian Benteke and Andreas Weimann. The front three have been outstanding together, and now with Libor Kozak, and Nicklas Helenius providing competition too, Agbonlahor will have to stay on his toes to keep his place in the side.

Roy Hodsgon has started to tinker around with the England formation recently, and has looked at playing one striker up front, with another two wingers pushing up alongside. Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck have excelled in those roles and are more than likely to be traveling to Brazil.

Andros Townsend has laid down a strong case to join them. His direct, relentless attacking against Montenegro and Poland showed that he was not overawed by the occasion. As for the strikers, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge are both in form and could end up being the nation's front two for the next few years if they can click.

There are also many names who at this moment in time are ahead of Agbonlahor in the pecking order. Aaron Lennon once he returns from injury, James Milner, Rickie Lambert, Jermain Defoe. The Aston Villa forward would have to have an extraordinary season to be able to bring himself into contention.

Whilst it seems unlikely now, you only have to look at the meteoric rise of Andros Townsend to see that a lot can happen in a short space of time. Townsend had barely featured for Spurs before this season, and had spent most of his career out on loan at nine different clubs. His loan move to QPR allowed him to show off his talent in the top flight, and he hasn't looked back.

He was instrumental for England in their last two qualifiers - no one could have predicted that.

Agbonlahor is already established in the Premier League and if he can produce the goods for Villa on a consistent basis then he will come into the reckoning. With at least three friendlies planned between now and March, Hodgson may be willing to give some of the fringe players a chance to impress. Coming to the peak of his career now, Agbonlahor would have to grab this potential opportunity with both hands.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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