Possible England World Cup XI after Ecuador draw - Barkley and Ox in

Roy Hodgson

After the 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Miami, we consider what England manager Roy Hodgson might go with in the opening game with Italy.

England's 2-2 draw with Ecuador was a good game for Roy Hodgson and his group of players, despite inevitable concerns at the team's inability to beat one of the weaker South American teams.

Considering that the England line-up was essentially a second string, playing against the Ecuadorian's first eleven, and also taking into account the heat the game took place in, a 2-2 draw wasn't so bad.

One thing that did look bad was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's knee injury. If it does turn out to be ligament damage then he will likely be out for the whole summer not just the World Cup. The Ox was the biggest plus point for England, and his loss would be a blow just as he had seemed to play himself into contention for a starting place.

The biggest area of concern beside Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury was the defence, with Milner looking out of place at fullback, Smalling and Jones looking a long way off international defenders, and Luke Shaw struggling too. The central defenders improved as the game went on, but it remains clear that defensive reserves aren't Hodgson's strength.

One place he is well equipped though is midfield, and there were plenty of positives here, with Ross Barkley and Oxlade-Chamberlain particularly impressive. Sterling also looked keen once he came on, though his red card, even if it was somewhat harsh, was a silly challenge and will have been duly noted by the England boss.

Below we propose the likely starting eleven against Italy on June 14th following last night's game in Miami.

GK - Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Very comfortable in his number one spot, Foster made a couple of decent saves but also displayed the odd nervy moment.

DR - Glen Johnson (Liverpool)

Is nailed on for the spot if he's fit, on account he's the only right back in the squad. 

DC - Gary Cahill (Chelsea)

The entire defence likely went up in Hodgson's estimation in their absence. The fact Cahill and Jagielka both netted against Peru wouldn't have done any harm to two men already comfortably first choice.

DC - Phil Jagielka (Everton)

Wouldn't have been concerned by the performances of Manchester United duo Smalling and Jones. May be concerned if he has to partner one of them.

DL - Leighton Baines (Everton)

Having fought off Ashley Cole for his first team spot, Baines is a certainty for Hodgson in Brazil. Shaw struggled at times against Ecuador.

MC - Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)

As captain, Gerrard is understandably first name on the team sheet, though Lampard did a decent job in a similar role.

MC - Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)

With no clear defensive midfielder in the side, Gerrard and the England midfield need the energy and tenacity of the former Sunderland man. Wilshere and Lampard failed to dominate the midfield in Miami, with the Arsenal star unable to assert his control of the game.

MC - Ross Barkley (Everton)

One of the two players to really impress against Ecuador, with obvious attacking talent and plenty of enthusiasm and energy. Does lose possession a little too often, so it's possible Lallana could come in if Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury isn't too serious. If Hodgson plays it safe against Italy, he may pick a player who is better in possession, such as Lampard or Wilshere. 

RW - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

Though that is the big question. Will the Gunners youngster be ok after his nasty looking knock? Assuming here that he is, Oxlade-Chamberlain likely played his way into his manager's plans. Hodgson likes the former Saints player, but even if he stays with the squad the 20-year-old may not be fit to start the first couple of games. If that's the case, expect Lallana to start after impressing against Peru.

LW - Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)

If there was ever any chance of Rooney being dropped, the United man dispelled it with his goal, scrappy though it was. Where he starts in relation to Sturridge is another matter.

CF - Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

He and Rooney were England's best attacking players in the Premier League last year, so it would be strange if Hodgson excluded one. Lambert did well last night, and could come in in a central spot to replace one of those two, or even to play at the point of a three that includes Rooney and Sturridge.

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