This afternoon the FA announced the England squad numbers for the upcoming World Cup. This may reveal how Roy Hodgson is looking to line up, perhaps giving the first 11 shirts to his preferred starting line up.
If this is the case, the major talking point will be Frank Lampard’s selection, wearing number 8. The numbers suggest that Hodgson may resort to the same old England managers’ mistake of playing both Lampard and Gerrard together in midfield. This would see the omission of the in-form Jordan Henderson, who will wear 14, Adam Lallana (20) and Ross Barkley (21). The back five picks itself, with Hart, Johnson, Cahill, Jagielka and Baines being give the numbers corresponding to their respective positions, whilst captain Steven Gerrard will wear number 4 – which he usually wears for England and is synonymous with the Anchor Man role that he will be asked to play in Brazil. Jack Wilshere will wear the number 7 shirt despite his lack of appearances recently for Arsenal.
It would appear Danny Welbeck will be played out on the left, with Daniel Sturridge, the top English goalscorer in the Premier League, being shoved out wide on the right. This, as shown in the most recent friendly against Denmark, will be a complete waste of Daniel Sturridge, just too accommodate the best 11 players that England have. Rather than playing Sturridge out wide, surely Hodgson would have learnt from that friendly and will look to play him centrally. Should the first eleven players be picked to start, this would mean the omission of Adam Lallana and Raheem Sterling, who have both had excellent seasons at Southampton and Liverpool respectively.
However there is another way at looking at these numbers. As Frank Lampard is the vice captain, he may have been given his preferred number 8, which he has worn for club and country for over a decade. Chris Smalling (12), Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (15), Adam Lallana (20) and Luke Shaw (23) have all been given numbers outside of the 11, but they also wear these numbers for their clubs, so these could be their preferred numbers. Hodgson has recently said that he hasn’t yet decided who will start against Italy in England’s opening game, so don’t be surprised if anyone in the squad makes it in to the team in Manaus.
The England World Cup squad numbers in full:
1. Joe Hart, 2. Glen Johnson, 3. Leighton Baines, 4. Steven Gerrard, 5. Gary Cahill, 6. Phil Jagielka, 7. Jack Wilshere, 8. Frank Lampard, 9. Daniel Sturridge, 10. Wayne Rooney, 11. Daniel Welbeck, 12. Chris Smalling, 13. Ben Foster, 14. Jordan Henderson, 15. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 16. Phil Jones, 17. James Milner, 18. Rickie Lambert, 19. Raheem Sterling, 20. Adam Lallana, 21. Ross Barkley, 22. Fraser Forster, 23. Luke Shaw