GERRARD IS CERTAIN

England defender Phil Jagielka has said that Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard is probably the only player is guaranteed a starting line-up in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers for England. The team are currently fighting for the top spot in the World Cup qualifying group along with Montenegro. Roy Hodgson, who replaced Fabio Capello as the England manager just before the Euro 2012, has been trying to integrate youth into the team. The likes of Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, and Daniel Sturridge are seen as the future of the England national team.

Due to the intense competition for places, experienced players like Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick are facing the risk of not being in the team. Hodgson has already had to contend with the lack of players like Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, who have retired from international football. Jagielka is hoping that the retirement of these two players will help him add to his 17 England caps. The 30-year-old is seen as the direct replacement for Terry. Liverpool captain Gerrard will not be part of the team for the friendly matches against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

He is undergoing a shoulder surgery, which will see him return only before the start of the new season.

“There is tough competition in all positions. It’s not just the centre-backs – even the full-backs aren’t guaranteed places these days and I look on that as a positive. The squad probably don’t have as many so-called top-level players as we’ve had in the past, like David Beckham, so it could be any one of 30 players starting in August and at the World Cup. There isn’t really anyone nailed down. Possibly Stevie but he’s getting that bit older and I see him changing his game for England a bit,” said Jagielka.