What should England try in friendly internationals?

Roy Hodgson

As the Three Lions prepare for three crucial pre-World Cup warm-up matches, we explore how manager Roy Hodgson should experiment with his squad.

Before starting their World Cup campaign, England have three friendly internationals to play, as manager Roy Hodgson will look to finalise his best XI.

On the 30th May, 4th June and 7th June, England will play Peru, Ecuador and Honduras respectively, with Hodgson attempting to adjust his side to take on Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica in Group D in Brazil.

Here we look at three things the England manager needs to do during the friendly games.

Don’t worry about media or fans

As with every major international tournament, there will be immense pressure on Hodgson and his players. This comes with the territory, but this should not influence any key decisions. Ultimately it is Hodgson’s responsibility to select the strongest side to compete, while the players themselves must step up and perform.

Cement the starting core

It seems as though the starting team is almost easily picked, with the partners to Gary Cahill in defence and Steven Gerrard in midfield likely to be the main positions to play for. Phil Jagielka’s form may give him the edge over Phil Jones to start in the heart of the England defence, while there are three main candidates to fight over the second central midfield role.

Jordan Henderson benefits from partnering Gerrard all season in a strong Liverpool side, but Ross Barkley has had a breakout season at Everton and is fast becoming a fan favourite. Jack Wilshire flies to Brazil after returning to full fitness to win the FA Cup with Arsenal.

Work out what style suits the players

A 4-2-3-1 formation that is increasingly common over the last few years and has been best utilised by Spain in their World Cup and European Championships success is very likely. Wayne Rooney could sit back behind Daniel Sturridge, with Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling supporting from the wings. Hodgson could perhaps bring in Rickie Lambert as a second striker, adding the strength to complement Sturridge’s finesse.

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