England manager Roy Hodgson will name his provisional 30-man squad ahead of next month’s FIFA World Cup in Brazil on Monday and several Manchester based players could find themselves disappointed.
Players from both Manchester United and Manchester City will be waiting anxiously by their phones come Monday morning as doubts remain over their places in the squad.
United’s woeful season hasn’t helped their England international’s chances of making the plane but Hodgson has stated he’s known his squad for a while, giving them perhaps a glimmer of hope.
As for City’s English prospects, a lack of first-team opportunities haven’t given them the chance to catch Roy Hodgson’s eye but injuries in key areas could give them a look in.
The 30-man squad is narrowed down to 23 at the start of June when England head to Miami for a two-week training camp as Hodgson will choose seven players to leave behind.
MM takes a look at who will make the plane and who will be suffering the heartbreaking pain of missing the World Cup finals.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Doubts over his fitness coming into major international tournaments are yet again surfacing as the striker has missed United’s final games of the season with a groin problem.
However, United interim manager Ryan Giggs has declared that Rooney will be fit for England’s World Cup warm-up games so will almost be certain of a seat on the plane.
Verdict: If he stays fit the World Cup could finally see the best of Wayne Rooney. Plane
Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)
The striker has been a firm favourite under Roy Hodgson during their qualification campaign as the United striker finished as England’s second top-scorer.
His form this season has improved at United, especially in front of goal scoring 13 goals compared to just the two he managed last season.
With his ability to play on the wing he is almost one of the first names on Hodgson’s squad list.
Verdict: Versatility and a good international goal scoring record. Plane
Tom Cleverley (Manchester United)
This season has been one to forget for the 24-year-old midfielder as many pundits and fans have questioned what he actually offers to the team.
His lack of goals and assists from midfield haven’t helped matters but Hodgson has been a fan of Cleverley and he was part of the last England squad which faced Denmark and Chile in February.
Verdict: He’ll make the 30-man squad but will be left behind when it’s cut down to 23. Pain
Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
Carrick was United’s unsung hero last season as his solid midfield performances helped his side to their 20th league title, but how times have changed for the 32-year-old.
Below par-performances and United’s awful form this season haven’t helped his chances.
Along with his age, Hodgson may decide to take a younger face to Brazil but will he be tempted to take the United midfielder for his experience in big matches?
Verdict: The unlucky 24th man. Pain
Phil Jones (Manchester United)
Like Rooney, doubts were cast over Jones’ place in the squad when he injured his shoulder in United’s 3-1 win over Hull on Tuesday night.
Ryan Giggs though has given Jones the all-clear which gives him an excellent chance of appearing at his first World Cup finals.
His ability to play across the back-four and in central defence will also help his chances.
Verdict: Will offer cover for Hodgson which is vital during the intense group stage schedule. Plane
Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Smalling’s place in the England squad is very similar to his United defensive partner Jones, as he also offers versatility with the ability to play at both centre-back and right-back.
However, Smalling has struggled in big games, most notably against Olympiacos in this season’s Champions League but with the lack of centre defenders at Hodgson’s disposal his place should be safe.
Verdict: Same as Jones, versatility key in the Brazilian conditions. Plane
Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
The former England captain hasn’t officially retired from International duty yet so must still be clinging on to the hope of a final swansong in Brazil.
A lack of big tournament experience in Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, both featuring at their first World Cups, will help Ferdinand’s case but Hodgson seems to want this tournament to act as experience for the young squad he’s building.
Verdict: Will be seen as a step backwards. Pain
Wilfried Zaha (Manchester United)
Zaha was always going to be an outside shout for a World Cup place and needed a good first season at United to sneak into the squad.
This season though has been disastrous for the youngster as a lack of opportunities combined with a poor loan-spell at Cardiff City have ruined his outside chance.
Verdict: Not played enough this season and better players ahead of him. Pain
James Milner (Manchester City)
England and City’s Mr Reliable.
Milner’s place in the squad should be secure given the fact that Hodgson seems to bring on the midfielder whenever he needs to see out a game.
This will be especially crucial in England’s first two group games against Italy and Uruguay, both predicted to be close affairs.
Verdict: Expect to see him appear when England are holding on to their 1-0 lead against Italy. Plane
Micah Richards (Manchester City)
Could there be a surprise return for the City right-back?
His name will likely come up in discussions between Hodgson and his backroom staff especially if the England boss wants two recognised right-backs.
With Kyle Walker injured, Richards is the only other right-back in the Premier League with international experience but could still miss the cut.
Verdict: Will be too difficult to justify his lack of City games this season. Pain
Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Quite literally the first name on the team sheet so no doubt of his place in the squad.
Even when he had is dodgy patch at the beginning of the season his place was never in doubt given the lack of quality keepers behind him.
Verdict: Could prove to be England’s star man in Brazil. Plane
Joleon Lescott (Manchester City)
First team opportunities have been sparse for Lescott at City this season and that could cost what was a fairly secure place in the England squad for him.
If the defender had chosen to go on loan in January he would be a shoe in for the squad but now others such as Steven Caulker and John Stones could push ahead of him for a place on the plane.
Verdict: Will make the 30 but will have to impress Hodgson in training to make the 23. Plane
Gareth Barry (Manchester City)
Unlike Lescott, Barry went out on loan to seek first-team football after being frustrated at sitting on the Etihad bench and what a great decision that has proved to be.
Barry has been key to Everton’s impressive fifth-place finish this season and is back in England contention again.
With big tournament experience and having performed so well with Ross Barkley at Everton this season he could make a not so surprising return.
Verdict: May face similar heartbreak to Carrick and narrowly miss out on the 23. Pain
Jack Rodwell (Manchester City)
Took the Lescott approach and remained at City in January but he’s not been rewarded with first-team opportunities.
Therefore, his chances of a place in the squad have gone given the competition for central midfield places.
Verdict: Should have gone on loan to give himself a chance to impress. Pain
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