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Five alternative England forwards to Jay Rodriguez for the World Cup

| 08.04.2014

Jay Rodriguez, the Southampton attacker who has scored as many Premier League goals as Wayne Rooney, joins Theo Walcott on the treatment table, instead of going to the World Cup with England.

A serious and graphic knee injury sustained as the Saints lost 4-1 at the Etihad to top-flight title favourites Manchester City ended his hopes of going to Brazil. It took a few days to be confirmed but, now that it is, Roy Hodgson may be looking at contingency plans.

Coral experts suggest five forwards that could make the Three Lions’ World Cup roster instead of Rodriguez.

Andy Carroll – 10/11
West Ham target man Carroll missed the first half of the campaign injured, but is now odds-on to be in Brazil. His recent match-winning performance, scoring a goal and also assisting another, up at Sunderland caught the eye.

Even Brendan Rodgers, the man who got rid of Carroll from Liverpool, has been championing him. The Reds boss described his former player as “one of the best in Europe in the situation where the ball is played up to him”.

Can Hodgson fit both Carroll and Rodriguez’s Southampton teammate Rickie Lambert (11/10) into his squad? Wayne Rooney (1/50), Daniel Sturridge (1/25) and Danny Welbeck (1/6) are locks to go, so perhaps not. Carroll has youth on his side, but Lambert is in double figures.

Adam Johnson – 10/1
Sunderland winger and top-scorer Johnson was name-checked by Hodgson in the run-up to the March friendly with Denmark, but missed out on selection. That snub did not go down too well with one of 2014’s in-form players.

“I don’t think it really matters how well you are playing,” Johnson told the local press. “It’s who you play for.” There may be some truth in these claims, as Coral explored when he made them, but how wise was it to come out and say it?

Johnson’s odds of going to the World Cup have since doubled in length from 5/1. Sunderland are bottom of the table, and last won a Premier League game on February 1st. His comments may have come back to bite him but, with Rodriguez out, might Hodgson consider bringing him in from the cold?

Saido Berahino – 16/1
The relegation scrap is all getting a bit too tense for West Bromwich Albion. Young forward Berahino was recently involved in a dressing room bust-up with Scotland midfielder James Morrison after a 3-3 thriller with Cardiff, but the Baggies have since gone on to beat Norwich.

Burundi-born Berahino remains one of the brightest prospects eligible to represent England, however, despite being used almost exclusively as an impact sub by Albion boss Pepe Mel. The Spaniard has backed him, but could he go on to bigger and better things by quitting The Hawthorns?

Peter Odemwingie, a former West Brom teammate, has urged Berahino to do just that. Will he get the recognition if he remains at Albion? Hodgson is a former Baggies boss, however, and has been willing to blood youth en route to Brazil. It’s a well he may have to go to again in Rodriguez’s absence.

Peter Crouch – 20/1
Whatever you make of Stoke striker Crouch, he has never let England down. A recall at 33 years of age is probably unrealistic, especially since Carroll and Lambert are clearly ahead of him in the betting.

Might Hodgson be tempted by his superb international record, though? Remember Jermain Defoe has moved to the MLS, so Crouch remains the only proven striker at the highest level, apart from Rooney, currently playing in a top league.

Wilfried Zaha – 20/1
Another player Hodgson mentioned as being on the fringes. If the England boss is prepared to reward failure – but recognise talent at Cardiff – by calling up Zaha’s temporary teammate Steven Caulker, then why not have the Manchester United loanee in his squad too?

Like Berahino, Zaha was African-born, but moved to England. He has earned both of his two caps to date under Hodgson. Going forward he may prove to be a regular, but the Bluebirds’ plight is the problem ahead of the World Cup. You just get the feeling several players, including some listed above, have moved ahead of Zaha for a spot on the plane to Brazil.



Jamie Clark

Athletics aficionado, die-hard snooker fan and Crystal Palace supporter Jamie has written for Coral since February 2014 after spells with Soccerlens and the Press Association as a digital journalist and copywriter. A former East Midlands sports correspondent and Bwin tipster, he is a graduate of both the University of York and University of Sheffield, with a Masters in web journalism from the latter.