Roy Hodgson, if he manages to stay as manager of the national side, could have a lot of options to choose from when deciding a starting XI. With the European Championships in 2016 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018, many of the players could feature, and take England a long way in both competitions, even having the potential to win the competition in the eyes of some, an achievement barely thought about with the current England side. However, who would feature in the strongest England XI based on their current performances after the 2012/2013 season.
There would certainly be competition for the goalkeeping place. Joe Hart would begin to age, and although hitting the peak age for a goalkeeper, the younger generation of players such as Jack Butland and Fraser Forster, with the ability to already perform, but also grow as he was more involved in games. Butland certainly has the potential, giving him the edge of current Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster.
Kyle Walker would take the right-back place, but not without ease. Carl Jenkinson, who is eligible to play for both Finland and England, has stated his excitement at being able to play for England. However, his experience currently isn’t there, so Tottenham regular Kyle Walker would get the place. Ryan Bertrand would take the role of the left-back, edging Southampton youngster Luke Shaw to the spot. Although Shaw has been called one of the best players of his age, he wouldn’t have the experience at the time of the World Cup and European Championships coming up, meaning Ryan Bertrand, a currently Chelsea Reserves player, would feature in the starting XI.
In the centre of defense, Phil Jones and Steven Caulker could form an unbeatable partnership. Some fans are unsure about Phil Jones, but as he gets more gametime at Manchester United, the better he is becoming, and in a few years, Phil Jones could become an England regular, alongside Caulker. Caulker has become known for Tottenham Hotspurs fan to make the occassional mistake, but have excellent potential. More game time and experience could help Steven remove the mistakes from his game, making him a great possible England star. Chris Smalling would definitely come into the possible squad, but wouldn’t quite make the cut.
Playing three central midfielders, Tom Cleverley, Jack Wilshere and Jack Rodwell would all feature in the white shirt. Cleverley is a player underrated by many footballing fans across England, but certainly has the potential to become a regular for his national side. This could make Cleverley one of the older players of the side, but he could use his experience to make him a team leader, and a possible captain during the later competitions, such as the European Championships in 2016, although he would still only be 26 years old. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere could become an England legend, the player currently playing at the highest standard in the England side. Jack Rodwell could have a great international career, as long as his Manchester City career improves soon. Nevertheless, both Ross Barkley and Nick Powell could be in contention for the final place in the England international starting XI.
The wingers are possibly the best positions for the England side, producing some great talents who could go a long way. Playing on the right, would be Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Alex may only be 19, but he has already become an England regular since his move to London from Southampton. The Ox could be a key player for the side, getting both the goals and assists when needed. On the left would be Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling. Sterling came onto the footballing scene in 2012 playing for Liverpool, putting in some fine displays to earn him a place as a Liverpool regular. His current and potential ability has been shown early on, meaning he could feature often as a winger for England in the future. Theo Walcott could also play, as one of the older members of the squad, although could possibly lose key speed and acceleration over the seasons.
Finally, Danny Welbeck would lead up front on his own. The 22-year-old is already an England regular, and could take a solo role up front for the upcoming tournaments. Welbeck often features for league champions Manchester United, which has been noted by Hodgson and the England staff. Welbeck would also have competition from fellow United player Wayne Rooney, who would be older, and maybe used as back-up rather than a starting player. Daniel Sturridge could also battle with Welbeck for a place in the side, but could be edged by Welbeck due to his league performances. Nevertheless, Sturridge could use his versatility as a key strength, also having the ability to play as a winger.
Will we see this side line up soon during the FIFA World Cup in France in 2014, and during the European Championships two years later in 2016. More importantly though, will they be able to get their hands on a trophy, which fans have been waiting to see for far too long now.