England's strongest XI: Who makes the cut?

Which England players deserve a place in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up?

Adam Williams
Published 03/22/2013 11:48 by Adam Williams, read by 40 people.

With England's 2014 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro coming up, pubs, bars and front rooms across the country will be locked in heated debate over the issue of England's best starting XI. 

Experience or youth? A delicate blend of both? Leighton Baines or Ashley Cole? Can Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard be in the same team? 

Everyone in England will be opting for their favoured players in all kinds of different roles and positions, so I'll tell you mine if you tell me yours.

Firstly I've gone for a 4-2-3-1 formation, and filling the positions are:

Goalkeeper: Joe Hart

The Manchester City shot-stopper has firmly cemented himself as number one for club and country with recent world-class displays. Confident and agile, have England finally got a goalkeeper they can rely on?

Right-back: Kyle Walker

After receiving the PFA Young Player of the Year award last season, Walker has grown with confidence this season, supporting the Spurs' attack well. While his defensive work may need some tweaking he is undoubtably emerging as a world-class talent, providing frightening pace with supporting overlaps and tracking tackles alike.

Centre-back: Michael Dawson

Dawson opted to battle for his place at Tottenham after seemingly being out of favour with new head coach Andre Villas-Boas. Since then his gutsy and determined displays for Spurs this season have seen him reinstated as the club's captain, making him one of the first names on the team-sheet at White Hart Lane.

Centre-back: Gary Cahill

Since his move to Chelsea from Bolton in 2012, Cahill has been paired with multiple partners at the back, holding his own role well. He is beginning to realise his potential at Stamford Bridge and has gained European and international experience along the way, learning from England's previous captain John Terry.

Left-back: Leighton Baines

A tough call putting Baines ahead of Cole, who received his 100th England cap on his last outing during the 2-0 win against Brazil at Wembley. But the Everton full-back has proved himself week-in-week-out for the Toffees, assisting well in attack, scoring goals from open play and also taking free-kicks and penalties. Baines has proved himself to be a thorn in the side of many opponents with his rapid pace, while he is also capable of well-constructed defensive displays.

Defensive midfield: Frank Lampard

With discussions yet to begin over a possible extension to his Chelsea contract, Lampard has experienced a topsy-turvy campaign. However, there is no doubt he has proved his worth on the pitch after being reinstated to the Blues' midfield. The England international is now just two goals short of Chelsea's all-time goalscoring record and has adapted to a more defensive role well.

Defensive midfield: Jack Wilshere

England's new golden boy. Attacking threat, creative genius and defensive engine. Nurture him well between club and country and he could well become a world-class talent at the highest level

Right midfield: Steven Gerrard

England's captain - and rightly so, in my opinion. Gerrard has played a number of roles for England over the years and there is a strong case for him to play at the heart of England's midfield. But seeing him push up the flank and deliver balls into the box while also having the ability to drift inside and unleash his famous powerful strikes is a mouth watering prospect.

Attacking midfield: Wayne Rooney

Rooney has had a inconsistent international career; however, his class is undisputed at club level, adapting to a number of roles well under Manchester United managerSir Alex Ferguson. Adjusting well to the arrival of new strikers and midfielders and stealing the show with determined, powerful displays while wearing the United No. 10 shirt, there is arguably nobody better in the attacking midfield role.

Left midfield: Ashley Young

England are still searching for an out-and-out left winger, with the majority of talent in this position from Britain seemingly coming from Wales over the years. We've had to settle with adaptive players in recent times and there are arguably none better in this role than an in-form Ashley Young.

In his first season at United, after moving from Aston Villa in 2011, he took no time to adjust - scoring freely from the left flank while cutting inside and curling efforts into the far corner with his favoured right foot. If he can maintain those kind of displays, we may just settle for adapting.

Striker: Danny Welbeck

Welbeck has bided his time during the spell of adoration for Javier Hernandez at Old Trafford and has now emerged as Sir Alex Ferguson's first-choice in the No. 9 role. Frightening pace, agility and coolness in front of goal has seen him score numerous important goals for United this season, not forgetting his wonderfully delicate dink in England's 1-0 win against Belgium.

So there it is, as difficult and no doubt controversial as any other England fan's first choice starting 11. 

Leaving a strong bench and strong cases for possible adaptation as the internationals go on, it really isn't until you start dissecting the team that you realise just how hard a job this is.



DISCLAIMER: This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeFootball Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeFootball.com or SportsNewMedia.The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeFootball.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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