Five England replacements for Steven Gerrard
While England skipper Steven Gerrard has not officially announced his international retirement, Roy Hodgson has decided to drop him to the bench and start Frank Lampard for their final World Cup game with Costa Rica.
The Liverpool and Three Lions captain said, following the defeats to Italy and Uruguay in Group D: “I need more time over the summer to consider my future and I won’t be rushing into a decision.
“I need to get away on holiday and clear my head before I make that decision. I’ve agreed to speak to the manager in a few weeks’ time. It is a big decision and I’ll make it in due course.”
With that in mind, Coral writers have put their heads together to search for the next Gerrard, in the deep-lying playmaker role.
It is incredibly surprising that former Tottenham man Huddlestone has only managed four caps for England, yet the likes of Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young have mustered up more than three and seven times that amount respectively.
Since the 27-year-old’s departure from Spurs, he has earned rave reviews in the controlling role for Hull City in his debut season for them, gaining three goals and seven assists in the Premier League and FA Cup. His performances helped the Tigers to a 16th-place finish, as well as guiding them to the final of football’s oldest knockout competition, narrowly losing out to Arsenal.
Huddlestone will be 29 by the time of the European Championships in 2016, so will be in his peak years. Surely he has to be an option or at least in the squad for the next few years.
England Under-21 international and current Spurs player Carroll, 22, has largely made his name on loan at other clubs more recently at QPR, where he played an important role in getting them promoted back to the top-flight.
A very mobile and agile left-footed midfielder, much in the style of Jack Wilshere, his pin-point pass accuracy and creativity has not gone unnoticed, and is certainly one for the future. What he lacks at the moment, though, is Premier League experience.
Delph came through Leeds United’s famous youth academy and, as a youngster, he was touted to go on to be a top quality player. However, various injuries have set his progress back a bit, although he still manages to produce memorable displays when fit.
Now 24, he can still be classed as a youngster, and enjoyed a fine season this term with Aston Villa, despite the club finishing a lowly 15th. Delph was one of the very few bright spots for the Villains, and managed four goals and three assists in all competitions for them.
Former Manchester united youth product Drinkwater has just been promoted with Leicester City as Championship winners, and will have the chance to impress England boss Roy Hodgson on a regular basis in the top-flight. Despite being 24, it is not over for him to play at senior international level, if he can continue his fine form from this season.
Drinkwater’s dominant performances in the centre of the park for Leicester this term, getting seven goals and four assists in 45 league games. This resulted in him being voted Foxes Play of the Season, and subsequently recently rewarded with a new five-year deal with the Foxes.
Thorne is another who has made his name on loan in the Championship, for the likes of Portsmouth, Watford and Derby County and, before a cruciate ligament injury sustained in early 2013, he was brought into West Brom’s first XI.
Following that, his temporary spells away from The Hawthorns have put the commanding central midfielder back in the picture. Derby have tried to sign him permanently, but it seems the Baggies want to keep him, so hopefully Thorne will get his chance in the Premier League again next term.