Roy Hodgson’s Brazilian-backed playing cards were tentatively laid on the table with the announcement of his squad to face Chile and Germany during the international break.
The group contains a few newcomers and fringe players who’ll have their chance to impress over the two friendlies, but three men who are shining in the Premier League can still hold on to hope that they’ll have a seat on the World Cup-bound plane despite their omission.
England are 20/1 to lift the World Cup next summer.
The international absence of John Terry and Rio Ferdinand means England will enter their first major tournament without one or the other in the squad for the first time since Euro 2000. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka look to have earned Hodgson’s trust as the first-choice pairing.
But with Man United utility men Phil Jones and Chris Smalling rarely used in the heart of defence and Joleon Lescott out of favour for his club, Davies’ form for Hull City, where he ranks in the top three of English players for last man tackles, aerial duels won and headed clearances according to whoscored.com, can see him nab a reserve spot.
The right-back position is one of concern for Hodgson, with Glen Johnson tentatively returning from injury and Kyle Walker prone to defensive lapses.
A regular in the best defence in the Premier League, Clyne’s 3.2 tackles per game is the second most at his club, as is his one successful dribble per game, which showcases his lust for attacking is equally as revered as his defensive abilities.
Player-rating bible, whoscored.com puts Delph as the best player in the Aston Villa ranks this season and his role of midfield destroyer is one that is notably absent from the England manager’s upcoming squad.
Delph makes the most interceptions per game in the Villa squad along with the second most tackles and could well be the man to anchor England’s midfield should his form continue.