With Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley in with a chance of making their Three Lions debuts against either Moldova or the Ukraine, we look at five cap-less players who may be tried out ahead of next summer’s World Cup (should England qualify).
Left-back pair Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines will be 33 and 29-years-old respectively before 2013 is out and after a fallow few years, England are starting to stockpile quality left-backs, with both Kieran Gibbs and Southampton’s Luke Shaw consistently impressive at club level over the last 12 months.
Shaw is still only 18, but with Chelsea and Man Utd sounding out the Saints about his signature over the summer, Roy Hodgson will take notice soon enough.
On the opposite side of defence Kyle Walker has provided ample cover for first-choice Glen Johnson and Carl Jenkinson has already made his England debut, but Everton’s John Stones looks set for a bright future after former Toffees boss David Moyes saw off Man City and Chelsea to sign him up for £3m from Barnsley in January.
The 19-year-old played every minute of the U21’s 6-0 win over Scotland and made his Everton debut against Stevenage in the Capital One Cup recently.
England have yet to find the right midfielder to play just ahead of defence, with Steven Gerrard somewhat wasted in that role against Scotland.
Aston Villa’s 23-year-old Ashley Westwood, whose lack of caps at youth level could be put down to falling under the radar at lowly Crewe Alexandra, has performed well in a deep-lying role since his £2m move last summer and could get a chance once qualifying is wrapped up.
Years of toil outside the top flight have not done Rickie Lambert’s international aspirations any harm and Cardiff stalwart Peter Whittingham, who at 28 is three years younger than the Southampton striker, would be a versatile addition to England’s attacking ranks.
The former Villa man was consistently amongst the goals during his seven seasons in the Championship, with 63 league strikes in 267 appearances for the Bluebirds and his ability to play up front or on either wing would be useful in a tight, tournament squad.
Burundi-born Baggies boy Berahino announced himself to The Hawthorns with a first-half hat-trick in the Capital One Cup win against Newport County and the 20-year-old will get league opportunities this year in a West Brom team that is hardly over-laden with attacking threats.
Berahino has scored 14 goals in 29 games at various England youth levels and could soon stake a claim for a call-up, with Hodgson’s decision to keep Jermain Defoe in the set-up despite the Spurs man’s poor goal return of late underlining the dearth of striking options available to England.