England having already qualified for the World Cup are to now use the warm-up games leading up to the tournament to try some new, fresh ideas and hopefully find a few hidden gems along the way, to help our campaign in Brazil.
The 2 friendlies against Chile and Germany should act as a good test for the young England side, and should clear up what is good/bad about the current England team, with enough time to try and fix any obvious faults.
The first game against Chile may seem like a low key affair, but you only have to look through their squad to know it’s not going to be an easy match. The likes of Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona) Arturo Vidal (Juventus) and Mauricio Isla (Juventus) are likely to line up against a youthful England side that will need to stay vigilant. Whilst still favourites it’s important to show that the side can concentrate, even during these low key affairs.
The second game is anything but a ‘low key’ affair as England welcome the old enemy back to Wembley. Germany turn-up with one of the best they have had in years. The likes of Marco Reus, Mario Gotze and Toni Kroos will be ones to look out for in their impressive midfield unit. I believe the test against Germany will allow us to see where we are in world football, and will be a game for players to make a name for themselves.
Here's a look at five players that will be relishing the international break to showcase their talents to the manager, and the fans:
Jordan Henderson – The Liverpool midfielder has been in fine form this season and rightfully got himself back into the England set-up but now it is up to him to impress.
The fans will be the hardest to turn round, as a lot of people made their mind up on the player when he was teenager – now coming of age, it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
Andros Townsend - Already impressing in every sense of the word, but still relatively new to the international set-up as he looks to double his caps in the next week.
The midfielder has every chance of being one of the first names on the team-sheet in Brazil and you could argue it is his to lose now, so a good performance in the next few games is imperative.
Gary Cahill – The Chelsea man is looking to cement his starting XI place, and with competition heating up, and him finding it difficult at Chelsea to play week in, week out then he needs this weekend to keep himself fresh in the mind of Hodgson.
The Chelsea defender, for me has to be in there but if he isn’t getting game time and he is struggling to prove himself on a regular basis, you can’t blame the manager for looking elsewhere.
Phil Jones – The United youngster is another one that has succumb to a case of the ‘Jordan Hendersons’ after not hitting his potential before his 22nd birthday, people have inexplicably written the young star off!
The extremely talented player has a chance to show his worth over the next week, to showcase his abilities and perhaps even break into the England starting 11, when the competition starts. He faces some stiff competition, but for me, he has the ability to be there.
Ashley Cole – The Chelsea star needs to be relishing this weekend, because competition for both club and country have stepped up to the point, where he isn’t automatically first name on the team-sheet.
In the past decade, as long as he was semi-fit the Chelsea star would be left-back. There was never any argument, no competition and there was no reason to, as he was undoubtedly one of the best left backs in the world. Recently the late emergence of Everton left-back Leighton Baines has split the population about who should start in Brazil, and with Azpilicueta showing form, he isn’t guaranteed a Chelsea spot either.
I’m backing the Chelsea man to show his class, as he is STILL one of the best left backs in the world – if not the best.
Who are you backing to do well over the next week?
image: © p_a_h