Bookies place England fringe players in firing line for World Cup squad
Several of England’s fringe players have their last chance to impress manager Fabio Capello in their game with Japan on Sunday.
Following a 3-1 win over Mexico on Monday, which received mixed reviews, the Italian’s team will look to finish on a high before travelling to South Africa ahead of the opening Group C game against USA on June 11.
Among the group of players hoping to force their way onto the plane are Sunderland’s 25-goal striker Darren Bent, Spurs defensive lynchpin Michael Dawson and Chelsea starlet Joe Cole.
And one young player who is making a late run for the final 23 is Adam Johnson.
The ex-Middlesbrough winger has been a revelation since arriving at Manchester City in the transfer window and after strong appearances for the Under-21 side Capello has put his faith in the 22-year-old left footer.
Nevertheless, Johnson will probably turn out to be a regular fixture in England sides once this year’s competition is out of the way.
He has displaced former Teesside team-mate Stewart Downing in the international stakes and looks to have more flair, inventiveness and courage than the Aston Villa midfielder.
One of the disadvantages facing Johnson is that he is most likely in direct competition with Joe Cole for a midfield place, and such is the former West Ham man’s experience at international level that he may get the nod instead.
But with the final squad selection to be decided on Tuesday, Johnson is 4/7 with bookmaker Coral to book his seat on the Three Lions’ flight bound for the Rainbow Nation.