England boss Roy Hodgson may have given the media and supporters of the national team an insight into who may start in the country's first World Cup group game on Saturday, June 14 at the Arena Amazonia, Manaus, as he named a strong starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 formation for the Three Lions' international friendly match-up against Peru at Wembley Stadium later tonight.
Whilst a number of exciting prospects were selected in Hodgson's 23-man squad, including Arsenal attacker Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Everton wonderkid Ross Barkley and lightning-paced Liverpool star Raheem Sterling, the manager has elected for a mature XI, with Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck - who made 36 appearances in all competition last season - starting over Sterling, who excelled at the end of the club season.
The set-up pleased former England striker Gary Lineker, who scored 48 goals from 80 games, as the BBC pundit had hoped for something other than a 4-4-2. He said earlier today: "[The] only thing worth looking for [in pre-tournament friendlies] is a hint of World Cup tactics. Anything but the inflexible, dated, predictable 2 lines of 4 with 2 up front, please.
"[I'd be] happy with 4-3-3, 4-1-2-1-2 or diamond, even 4-2-3-1. The key is depth in your midfield. [You] can't play well in straight lines at this level."
Upon the announcement of the starting XI, Lineker tweeted:
Are we looking at a 4-2-3-1 formation here? Would take that, although personally think Sterling is miles ahead of Welbeck.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) May 30, 2014
Sterling, 19, has been electric under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers at Anfield, seemingly coming of age this past season, making 33 Premier League appearances, scoring nine, setting up seven but impressing due to his ability to ride challenges despite his diminutive size.