As the 2014 World Cup draws ever closer, England manager Roy Hodgson will be formulising his plans for Brazil and contemplating who to pick in his 23-man squad from a pool of talented players.
This is a sponsored article…
Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard are amongst many prestigious names who are nailed-on to wear the Three Lions shirt and represent their country with pride. The England squad, like any other at international level, is based upon a collective group of players who are either gifted with a natural ability as a top class player in their position, or have developed over the year through a youth systems and regular first-team football into a player who is capable of representing their country.
This provides a wonderful incentive and belief for clubs such as Port Vale to, one day, have one of their players put on the England shirt and fulfil a dream held by many lower league stars….
Wilfred Zaha, David Nugent and Jay Bothroyd are the most recent notable names who have been called up to play for England despite playing in the Championship, which shows that you do not necessarily have to play in the Premier League to stand a chance of winning international caps. This provides a wonderful incentive and belief for clubs such as Port Vale to, one day, have one of their players put on the England shirt and fulfil a dream held by many lower league stars.
The Football League continues to prove that there is quality outside of the higher echelons of the Premier League on a weekly basis, with a number of players making a claim for an England cap; in the current situation the national team finds themselves in, Roy Hodgson could do much worse than to give lower league stars a go. With England looking for alternatives to Jay Rodriguez in the striking department following the Southampton star’s untimely knee injury ruling him out of this summer’s World Cup, Port Vale fans could point towards Tom Pope as a potential candidate.
The 28-year-old striker has quickly established himself as a key player for The Valiants and a firm fan’s favourite through his goal-scoring prowess. Pope netted 33 goals in the 2012/2013 season which was instrumental in Port Vale securing promotion to League One, with the striker chipping in with fifteen goals in the current campaign. Despite being 6ft 3’, Pope is much more than a target man with an element of pace, quick-thinking and sharpshooting making him a dangerous opponent for any defence to come up against.
Port Vale’s hitman would certainly be a wildcard selection for Roy Hodgson to consider, but could be utilised as a secret weapon and take other nations by surprise.