Five England players who could lose World Cup place

Sports Mole assesses which five England players could miss out on the 2014 World Cup, despite being named in Roy Hodgson's latest squad.

England secured their place at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil on Tuesday evening when they recorded a 2-0 win over Poland at Wembley.

That victory was on the back of an emphatic triumph over Montenegro last week, with many members of the squad impressing sufficiently to already book a seat on the plane to South America next summer.

However, of the 23 players that were named for the back-to-back qualifying games, not all had an opportunity to impress manager Roy Hodgson, with only friendly matches remaining for them to try to stake their claim.

Below, Sports Mole selects five players from the latest squad that could find themselves out in the cold when Hodgson makes his final selection in seven months' time.


Tom Cleverley of Manchester United looks on during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013© Getty Images
1. Tom Cleverley

Tom Cleverley had been named as part of the squad for the World Cup double-header before he was forced to withdraw because of a calf injury.

The Manchester United midfielder has been a regular part of the qualifying campaign, with his last appearance coming from the bench against Ukraine in September.

However, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere and Michael Carrick appear to have already guaranteed their place in the squad, which would probably leave just one more place up for grabs.

Everton's Ross Barkley has been drafted into the squad since the start of the season, while Liverpool's Jordan Henderson has also been mentioned, and that could see either man preferred to Cleverley if he doesn't impress at Old Trafford for the remainder of the campaign.


Manchester United's Chris Smalling in action against AIK during a friendly match on August 6, 2013© AFP
2. Chris Smalling

Defender Chris Smalling was given the nod ahead of his Manchester United teammate Phil Jones against Poland, but that is unlikely to have any effect on Hodgson when he names his final 23.

The England coach has plenty of options at right-back, with Glen Johnson, Kyle Walker and Micah Richards seemingly competing over two places, which would leave Smalling to fight for one of the four centre-back positions.

That could see Smalling go head-to-head with Jones for World Cup selection, with preference likely being given to the player who plays more regularly in that position at Old Trafford.

It's possible that both could be selected by Hodgson, but if it comes down to a one-on-one shootout with Jones, that could see Smalling miss out.


Southampton's English striker Rickie Lambert passes the ball during the English Premier League football match between Norwich City and Southampton at Carrow Road in Norwich, eastern England on August 31, 2013© Getty Images
3. Rickie Lambert

Southampton striker Rickie Lambert has made a fine impact on his introduction to international football, scoring two goals in his first three appearances.

The 31-year-old was also given the nod in attack away in Ukraine in September, but he failed to feature after the return of Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck.

With the experienced Jermain Defoe in line to be named in the squad, Lambert's selection could depend on the fitness of West Ham United striker Andy Carroll.

Faith could be placed in the former Bristol Rovers forward if Carroll struggles on his return from injury, but if the target man can make an impact at Upton Park in 2014, Hodgson will select the former Liverpool attacker in place of Lambert.


England goalkeeper John Ruddy catches the ball during a training session at London Colney on October 10, 2013© Getty Images
4. John Ruddy

Goalkeeper John Ruddy was a surprise inclusion in Hodgson's squad for Euro 2012 before being forced to withdraw from the tournament with a broken finger.

The Norwich City stopper recovered to make his debut against Italy in August, but despite regularly featuring in the squad, Ruddy has yet to feature for a second time.

Ruddy was joined in the last squad by Fraser Forster, but with the Celtic man continuing to impress in the Champions League, that could see him become second choice to Joe Hart.

That would leave Ruddy to compete with Jack Butland for the third spot, and with the Stoke City goalkeeper seen as a future number one for his country, he could be taken to Brazil to gain experience ahead of Ruddy.


Raheem Sterling of England in action during the 2015 UEFA European U21 Championships Qualifying Group One match between San Marino U21 and England U21 on October 10, 2013© Getty Images
5. Raheem Sterling

Raheem Sterling was thrown into the international limelight late in 2012 when he was handed his debut in a friendly away in Sweden.

However, despite displaying some excellent form for Liverpool in and around his introduction for his country, the level of his performances dropped during the second half of the season.

The 18-year-old has largely been used as a substitute during this campaign, but he was drafted into the senior squad for the game with Poland ahead of more established names such as Ashley Young.

Stering is still seen as one for the future by Hodgson, and with Wilfried Zaha and Ravel Morrison impressing for the Under-21 side, the youngster could have to wait for the European Championship in 2016 before he features at a major tournament.

General view of the pitch during the rain before the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier between Poland and England at the National Stadium on October 16, 2012
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