In 2006, England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson stunned the nation when he selected a 17-year-old Theo Walcott for the World Cup in Germany, and who will surprise us this time around?
Below are the five players whose inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions squad for the Brazil tournament will send shockwaves across the footballing community in the country:
1) Tom Cleverley – The much maligned midfielder hasn’t quite lived up to the promise expected of a Manchester United academy graduate, despite his 13 England caps. Perhaps too fond of the five-yard pass rather than a defence-splitting through-ball, Cleverley’s inclusion would come as a huge shock.
2) Wilfried Zaha - A frustrating season, in which he was left out of David Moyes’ Manchester United side and then endured a disappointing loan spell at Cardiff City, has put the winger’s World Cup hopes on the rocks. However, fellow wide-men Theo Walcott and Andros Townsend are ruled out due to injury, giving Zaha an outside chance of making the 23-man squad.
3) Andy Carroll – Assuming that Hodgson will select four strikers, there is one place up for grabs, as Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck are certain to make the squad. Carroll and Rickie Lambert are vying for the perennial ‘big man up top’ title, and the former will be hoping that his goal at Euro 2012 will hold him in good stead.
4) Jon Flanagan – With Kyle Walker’s nagging pelvic problem sidelining him for Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool’s 21-year-old full-back will hope to deputise for his teammate Glen Johnson in Brazil. Flanagan would be an unlikely selection, but he would provide versatility as a right-footed player who has played at left-back this season.
5) John Stones – England have suffered a mini centre-back crisis in the past few years with John Terry and Rio Ferdinand's dominance ending acrimoniously. Stones, who is only 19 years of age, looks composed on the ball and could capitalise on Phil Jones’ injury and Chris Smalling’s sub-par season.