World Cup 2014: Roy Hodgson reveals 'big name' likely to be cut from squad for Brazil, with Ashley Cole among those under pressure
It will be intriguing to see what outcome awaits Ashley Cole, who has played the last 22 tournament games for the Three Lions
Roy Hodgson has admitted that he will have to leave out one of the "big names" from the England team when he selects his 23 players for the World Cup squad in Brazil on 13 May.
The England manager picked a bigger-than-usual pool of 30 players for the friendly against Denmark next Wednesday – allowing himself to avoid the issue of who might be excluded in May. He selected the 18-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, who will be given his senior debut next week and put pressure on the two established left-backs, Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole, in particular.
In midfield numbers are also tight, with 12 selected in the latest squad and Steven Gerrard, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Frank Lampard and Jordan Henderson all contending for the four central positions. It is there that the big-name casualty is most likely to emerge, with a chance that Lampard or Carrick may not be selected for Brazil.
There was no place for Andy Carroll, Adam Johnson or Aaron Lennon in the squad Hodgson named, although he claimed that the door was not shut on anyone. Jermain Defoe was given a place in what will be his last week in England before he joins Toronto FC. Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana kept their places after making their debuts against Chile in November.
Remarkably, Hodgson has very few injuries this time. Theo Walcott is out long-term and his Arsenal team-mate Kieran Gibbs is also missing through injury, as are Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones, the latter with concussion. Steven Caulker is Jagielka's replacement. That aside, the England manager has a big pool of contenders who are fit and ready to play.
Talking about the squad for the World Cup, Hodgson said: "I am very conscious of the fact that I could have to leave a big name out. It was a very different kettle of fish a couple of years ago [at Euro 2012], I don't think there was much debate then.
"But I am pretty sure this time around when I name 23 there will be a lot of debate because there will be some important players about whom some people will say, 'We understand, he's done the right thing, he's chosen the right ones.' And other people will say, 'No, he's chosen the wrong ones.' But sometimes those decisions, which are very tough decisions, get made for you [through injury]. I hope not."
It will be intriguing to see what outcome awaits Cole, who has played the last 22 England tournament games dating back to 2002 and been on the pitch for all but 16 minutes during those matches. Hodgson said that Shaw would be given the chance to prove himself worthy of a place in Brazil, although that would not be entirely contingent on how he fares against the Danes.
Hodgson said: "If he does well and corroborates what we think, that this is a good player and capable of playing for England ... our decision will be over the course of his work during the season and it will be a very simple choice. We have a 29-year-old in Leighton and a 33-year-old Ashley Cole and then we have an 18-year-old. That's a vast difference in terms of experience: 100-odd caps, 22 caps, maybe one cap."
The England manager also defended his decision to select Tom Cleverley, who has borne much criticism this season for his performances for Manchester United. Hodgson said he was a "talented player" and a "good passer", who was playing in a team lacking confidence. "Of course, if Tom is going to get into the 23, he is going to have play well in the coming matches," he said. "The fact that he is in the 30 does not guarantee him a place in the 23 and like everyone else it will be his performances which decide."
England squad to face Denmark
F Forster (Cel) 25/1/0
B Foster (WBA) 30/6/0
J Hart (MC) 26/38/0
J Ruddy (Nor) 27/1/0
L Baines (Eve) 29/22/1
G Cahill (Che) 28/21/2
S Caulker (Car) 22/1/1
A Cole (Che) 33/106/0
G Johnson (Liv) 29/49/1
L Shaw (Sot) 18/0/0
C Smalling (MU) 24/9/0
K Walker (Tott) 23/10/0
R Barkley (Eve) 20/3/0
M Carrick (MU) 32/31/0
T Cleverley (MU) 24/13/0
S Gerrard (Liv) 33/108/21
J Henderson (Liv) 23/7/0
A Lallana (Sot) 25/2/0
F Lampard (Che) 35/103/29
J Milner (MC) 28/44/1
A O-Ch'lain (Ars) 20/13/1
R Sterling (Liv) 19/1/0
A Townsend (Tott) 22/4/1
J Wilshere (Ars) 22/14/0
J Defoe (Tor) 31/55/19
R Lambert (Sot) 32/4/2
J Rodriguez (Sot) 24/1/0
W Rooney (MU) 28/88/38
D Sturridge (Liv) 24/9/2
D Welbeck (MU) 23/20/8
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