After the recent England call ups for in-form Southampton forwards Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez ahead of friendlies against Germany and Chile, I look at other players Roy Hodgson could have used the final International break of 2013 to look at with the World Cup on the horizon.
Right Back – Nathaniel Clyne
Despite there already being 3 Southampton players in the England squad, there should probably be another player traveling from the south coast with them. Nathaniel Clyne has been on the radar for years after breaking through at Crystal Palace and his decision to play regularly football rather move at an early age has helped for his development before stepping up to the Premier League last season to join Southampton.
Roy Hodgson was present at the St Mary’s Stadium and witnessed another good performance from Clyne who claimed his first assist of the season. Clyne’s stand out game this season came against Liverpool at Anfield where he made 13 tackles.
With the current holder of the right back slot and his back up, Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson, yet to convince on a defensive aspect consistently continued impressive performances by Clyne could see make the position his own in the years to come.
Center back – Steven Caulker
The Cardiff defender already has an England cap and goal to his name coming against Sweden a year ago, where he was incidentally substituted with England winning 2-1 after 74 minutes. Caulker will definitely add to that solitary cap in future, but with the quality of options currently lower than it has been in recent years Caulker’s claim to be involved in the present set up is a serious one.
Caulker has made a successful clearance every 11.51 minutes – the four best for an English center back this season – and his time at rivals Swansea showed his comfortable with playing the ball out of defence rather than the aimless and panicky long balls we’ve become accustomed to against the top teams – an 86% passing accuracy in the defensive third backs this up. If Caulker continues to perform for Cardiff in the manner he currently is, then a call-up to the next England squad should be on the cards.
Defensive Midfielder – Fabian Delph
In the crucial qualifiers last month England fans were ‘treated’ to the reappearance of the Gerrard-Lampard partnership yet again. To be able fit in England’s up and coming creative players though and replace the old guard a defensive midfielder is needed.
Delph has the defensive nous to be able to allow the more attacking midfielders to shine as well as the ability to pass the ball (82% passing accuracy). With 25 interceptions and 87 successful ground duels he plays a similar role to Michael Carrick, yet has a better engine and more mobility than the Manchester United midfielder. Missing out on this squad now makes it highly unlikely than Delph will be a surprise pick in the World Cup, but a view to a Euro 2016 place looks very realistic.
Attacking Midfielder – Ravel Morrison
The former Manchester United midfielder has overcome his well-documented personal problems and this season proved to already be a key player for West Ham. Morrison’s ability to dribble past players with ease and guile is something that England lack – 14 occasions he has managed to do so this season – with the close control Morrison posses a particular joy to watch. The midfielder is also comfortable in possession with 328 passes at an 87% passing accuracy.
Currently playing in the under-21’s and important qualifiers probably determined which England set-up he’ll spend the next week in, it is highly likely he will be battling Ross Barkley for one of the ‘wildcard’ places in the England World Cup squad. Expect a call-up in February.