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The big transition in English players for World Cup 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers are underway and Roy Hodgson has a tough task, as he attempts to organise a squad full of players who are coming and going.

Hodgson's squad for the games against Moldova and Ukraine was put together after almost a full team of players pulled out due to injury.

Injuries seem to be a major problem for the England squad at present and it could be down to the age of most of the group’s senior players.

A number of players are hitting their late 20s and early 30s, meaning the possibility of heading to Brazil in 2014 could be dependent on injuries and fitness.

A completely different set of players

Steven Gerrard (32), Phil Jagielka (30), Frank Lampard (34), Joleon Lescott (30) and John Terry (31) will all be comfortably into their 30s when the squad is announced for the major tournament in two years’ time.

Ashley Cole has recently suggested he has plenty more years in him. The Chelsea left back is one of the best in his position in the world and his fitness may be a major factor in his popular reputation, although he was forced to miss out against Moldova.

The England squad could be a completely different set of players in Brazil in 2014, with the senior players heading into their final days of international football.

New talent such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Daniel Sturridge and Ryan Bertrand could all be first choice players by then.

Players including Wayne Rooney, Gerrard and Terry are vital to England’s current set-up as they show leadership and courage on the pitch, but with Brazil still two years away, some of the most important players may not be selected in the squad due to their careers coming to an end.

More involvement for the youngsters 

With the youngsters becoming more involved, should Hodgson plan ahead for the World Cup and get rid of some of the older players?

One position England fans can be content on will be the goalkeeper.

After the horrendous errors that Robert Green and David James have made over the past decade, England can be fully confident when Joe Hart is between the sticks.

The 25-year-old will be more experienced by the time Brazil comes along, and the athletic keeper could be considered as a captain in the future.

The younger generation coming into contention seem to split the squad into two groups, but the England manager will have the hardest job of trying to blend the squad, into a well-balanced team who can play to their strengths.

The England Under 21s side have shown promise over recent years and have some of the best British talents around.

Danny Welbeck has proven to be an example of English talent.  The Manchester United striker has made his way through from the Under 21s into a regular fixture in the senior squad, which is promising for England’s chances in Brazil 2014.

The test starts imminently

Kyle Walker has also progressed from England’s Under 21s setup. The PFA Young Player of the Year from last season could turn into one of the Three Lions most powerful right backs of all-time.

Even England’s most in-form striker Rooney, has been questioned recently whether his best days are behind him.

England still have to qualify for the World Cup in Brazil though and the test starts imminently as they take on Moldova and Ukraine in the next five days.

The big question is whether the likes of Gerrard, Terry and Lampard will be around in two years to help England through their World Cup adventure, or will the nation have to rely on new stars who are currently still developing.

By Josh Harris

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