England players have received their squad numbers for the World Cup, but do they indicate their roles within the squad?
The England squad numbers for this summer’s World Cup Finals in Brazil were announced yesterday, but there are many reasons to believing they are more than just numeric figures.
Many players have spent their careers in shirts with the same number throughout, Ryan Giggs and David Beckham two notable examples who made the number 11 and 7 shirt iconic for club and country.
But nowadays, particularly with national tournaments, we can perhaps read even more than ever before into number delegation. From a place in the starting squad to a particular role in the tactical approach of a team, numbers now connote a lot more than meets the eye.
Here are a few picks from this summer’s England squad, and what we can read into the number they’ve been given.
1. Joe Hart – The undisputed number one, Hart will play every game in goal for England at the World Cup providing he stays injury and blunder free.
2. Glen Johnson – A starter at right-back? England coach Gary Neville made the No.2 jersey his own throughout his playing career.
5. Gary Cahill/ 6. Phil Jagielka – The starting centre-back partnership for the Italy game? At 5 and 6, as Terry and Ferdinand always were, Cahill and Jagielka look to have beaten Chris Smalling and Phil Jones to a starting place.
7. Jack Wilshere – The one that stole the headlines. Not only has the number seven been represented by many an England legend down the years, but its occupier usually starts. Is this a big hint that Wilshere will play in the centre of midfield?
11. Danny Welbeck – Perhaps confirmation that Welbeck will play a wider role this summer. Often wide of Rooney and Sturridge in an England shirt, Hodgson looks as if he will go with a three man attack.
13. Ben Foster – The first back-up? Foster had a brilliant season at club level, but his performances are only likely to be rewarded with appearances in the pre-tournament friendlies. Knows Hodgson well through his time with West Brom, and looks to be second-choice keeper.
14. Jordan Henderson / 18. Rickie Lambert/ 19./ Raheem Sterling/ 20. Adam Lallana/ 21. Ross Barkley – A place on the bench? All are unlikely to start in England’s World Cup games, but will no doubt feature at various points as substitutes. Henderson can provide a good link between the midfield and the front line, while Sterling, Lallana and Barkley may be required to assist and score goals in scenario’s where England are behind. Lambert will be the wild card used later on in matches.
17. James Milner- The ultimate utility man. Whether it be right-back, centre-midfield, right-wing or anywhere else, Milner will provide cover for several positions on the field, and his energy could be vital from the bench.
23. Luke Shaw – Missing out? Luke Shaw is unlikely to feature at all at the finals providing Baines stays fit. But he need not worry, at 18-years-old he has more than enough time on his side to make the cut in future.