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England's Football League World Cup Squad

What would England's World Cup squad have looked like if Roy Hodgson could only pick players in the Football League? Well, here's an educated guess.

What would England's World Cup squad have looked like if Roy Hodgson could only pick players in the Football League? Well, here's an educated guess.

England crashed out of the World Cup before it ever really got started - if you can say that about this World Cup - inevitably sparking a ton of criticism heading the Three Lions' way.

Captain Steven Gerrard made crucial mistakes against Uruguay, ironically helping his Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez, while Wayne Rooney once again failed to turn up at a major tournament, despite ending his World Cup duck - and let's not even get started on the defence.

England failed to perform - that cannot be disputed - so it led me to wondering what would Roy Hodgson's squad look like if he only picked players in the Football League?

Let me get one thing clear before we get started - I am not suggesting that this should have been the squad selected, that would be daft. But then I don't think any of them would have begged Harry Redknapp to get them out of playing for their country...


David Stockdale (Fulham): A quality goalkeeper who has proven, when given the chance for Fulham, that he can play in the Premier League. Stockdale has previously been called up to the national squad by Fabio Capello, although he failed to earn a cap. The 28-year-old played a huge part in helping Hull City win promotion to the Premier League on loan.

Lee Grant (Derby County): Grant returned to Derby last summer after six years away from Pride Park, in which time he was a safe pair of hands for Sheffield Wednesday and Burnley. The 31-year-old was brought back to the Midlands club by Nigel Clough, who claimed the free signing was "too good an opportunity to miss" - 13 clean sheets suggest the now Sheffield United manager was right.

John Ruddy (Norwich City): Like Stockdale, Ruddy suffered relegation from the Premier League and earned high praise during his three-year stint in England's top division. The former Cambridge United goalkeeper has been in and around the England set-up in recent years, earning his solitary cap in 2012 against Switzerland and was originally called up for Euro 2012 before breaking his finger.


Aaron Cresswell (Ipswich Town): The left-back is considered to be one of the top talents outside of the Premier League with reports linking him the likes of Aston Villa, West Brom and Everton. Cresswell joined Ipswich in 2011 from Tranmere Rovers and was an instant hit at Portman Road, winning the fans' player of the year award in his first season.

Tommy Rowe (Wolves): A versatile and exciting player, Rowe can play anywhere down the left-hand side of the pitch and would present a wonderful option at full-back. The 25-year-old left Peterborough United after five years to sign for Kenny Jackett's League One champions Wolves this summer.

Harry Maguire (Sheffield United): A highly-rated centre-back and has been capped at Under-21 level. Blades boss Clough is desperate to keep hold of Maguire amid reported interest from Wolves and Hull City as the former Derby and Burton Albion manager seeks to take the club back into the Championship in his first full season at Bramall Lane.

Steven Caulker (Cardiff City): Many considered Caulker to be in with an outside chance of making Hodgson's World Cup squad in Brazil, but a desperately disappointing campaign saw Cardiff relegated from the Premier League, despite his best efforts. At this moment the former Tottenham defender is a Football League player, but expect that to change before the start of the season.

George Friend (Middlesbrough): Another versatile player who can play at both left-back and in central defence. Friend has enjoyed a good season in a resolute Boro defence which conceded the least amount of goals (50) outside of the top six in the Championship, picking up the fans' player of the year award.

Richard Stearman (Wolves): Having fallen out of favour at Molineux in the 2012/13 season, seeing him reunite with former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy at Ipswich, Stearman was once again a regular in defence under Kenny Jackett this season. The 26-year-old presents options in both central defence and at right-back.

Sam Byram (Leeds United): Byram, at just 20 years of age, is already regarded as one of the brightest talents in England and Leeds face a battle to keep hold of the full-back, who is equally as comfortable playing further up the pitch.

Lee Peltier (Huddersfield Town): A former Under-18 international, Peltier has forged a successful career in the lower leagues since his release from Liverpool in 2008. The 27-year-old has re-joined the Terriers after three years, in which time he has played for Leicester City and Leeds, as well as Nottingham Forest on loan.


Dean Cox (Leyton Orient): Small and agile with pin-point crossing, Cox is by far and away one of the best players in League One, despite somehow not making the PFA's Team of the Year. The 26-year-old, who joined Leyton Orient on a free from Brighton in 2010, is easily top-half Championship-standard.

Ben Pringle (Rotherham United): Pringle has played a key role in Rotherham's back-to-back promotions from League Two to the Championship and should more than cope with the higher level. The 25-year-old would provide strong competition with Cox for a place on the left side of midfield.

Will Hughes (Derby County): The young Derby man was always going to be included in this squad. Likened to Paul Scholes, Hughes has talent in abundance and is expected to leave Derby sooner or later to fulfil his potential.

Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City): The 29-year-old did not enjoy the best of seasons for the Bluebirds, but then who did? Whittingham struggled for consistency as Cardiff failed to beat the drop, but he has proved for so many years that he is capable of supplying the killer ball.

Scott Parker (Fulham): Parker has played at the very top of the game and has a Premier League winner's medal in his possession from his time at Chelsea, as well as 18 England caps. His experience in the middle of the park would be invaluable and would add balance to the squad.

Bradley Johnson (Norwich City): Johnson adds experience and versatility to this squad as he is able to operate both as a left winger and full-back, as well as his primary position in central midfield. The 27-year-old has been a regular for Norwich since joining from Leeds in 2011 and Johnson will expect to play a key role in the Canaries' promotion push this coming season.

Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth): He's so good that Paolo Di Canio threw a hissy fit when Swindon sold him to Bournemouth in January 2013 and Ritchie has continued to shine under Eddie Howe. He is well worth a place on the right wing in this squad.

Will Buckley (Brighton): Comfortable on both wings and immensely talented, Buckley has been a key player for Brighton, narrowly missing out on promotion via the play-offs in consecutive seasons.


Adam Le Fondre (Cardiff City): One of the best goal scorers in the lower leagues, Le Fondre has proven that he can find the back of the net whether he starts or comes on from the bench - Premier League quality.

Troy Deeney (Watford): Deeney enjoyed the most prolific season of his career in what was a disappointing Watford side, scoring 24 goals as the Hornets finished a lowly 13th.

Lewis Grabban (Norwich City): The 26-year-old will be a huge miss for Bournemouth after scoring 22 goals in the Cherries' first season in the Championship. Grabban has proven himself through the leagues, hence why Norwich spent £3m on the former Rotherham striker this summer.

Sam Baldock (Bristol City): A player that divides opinion but one that most certainly produces the goods when given the opportunity. League One's top scorer last season with 24 goals in a side that spent most of the campaign at the wrong end of the table.

Do you agree with this squad? If not, what would you change? Feel free to share your thoughts with me on Twitter and via the comments section.

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