After a season of close-quarters observation, the news.bwin.com/en/ writers have put their heads together to pick the 23-man squad that should be representing England at the World Cup in Brazil.
The Three Lions are 21/10 outsiders for victory in their Group-D opener against Italy, a price that would undoubtedly be shorter if our advice had been followed.
Move over Roy Hodgson, this is how it’s done:
Goalkeepers: Hart, Forster, Foster
In that order.
The least controversial position required little in terms of head scratching, with Hart and Forster proven at Champions League level and Foster a capped and able third-choice.
Defenders: Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole, Jon Flanagan, John Terry, Phil Jones
Marauding right-backs Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker are overlooked in favour of alternatives with a greater degree of defensive diligence and positional probity.
Genuinely world-class full-back Ashley Cole is preferred to potentially world-class Luke Shaw.
John Terry, who should never have been stonewalled into retirement, comes in to reprise the partnership at the heart of the Premier League’s meanest defence with Gary Cahill.
Midfielders: Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Gareth Barry, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner, Ross Barkley
Jack Wilshere is omitted on injury-proneness grounds, while Frank Lampard hasn’t shone enough this term.
Barkley and the Ox are tasked with breaking through the defensive lines in the middle of the park in the former’s absence.
Elsewhere the vastly experienced Barry is brought in from the cold after a sensational season at the rudder of the Everton midfield.
Forwards: Adam Lallana, Stewart Downing, Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Rickie Lambert, Raheem Sterling
Stewart Downing may have had an underwhelming first season at West Ham, but the 34-cap international has seldom disappointed in an England shirt.
The Middlesbrough lad has pinged in a Premier League-leading average of 2.6 accurate crosses per game this term and provides a useful creative option from the bench.
Elsewhere the inclusion of Rickie Lambert, who created as many goals as Wayne Rooney this term and scored just four less, should never have been in doubt.