Barkley backed for a World Cup spot, but Lallana offers best value

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Ross Barkley’s meteoric rise continued to gather pace with a sensational performance during his side’s 2-1 win at Swansea, prompting Ladbrokes to trim the Everton man’s odds to make the plane to the World Cup to 4/5.

Following a string of impressive showings, the most recent seeing him notch the winner in south Wales the 20-year-old is now expected to travel to Brazil, jumping ahead of several more recognised internationals in the queue, with the likes of Ashley Young, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Lennon all on the drift.

With Roy Hodgson expected to name six central midfield players in his squad, seven including the versatile James Milner, this latest batch of odds suggest that the England boss has this aspect of his decision-making process sewn up, injury permitting.

Obviously, this spells bad news for Adam Lallana, who was regarded by many to be firmly in the manager’s consideration after a pair of strong outings in his first two international appearances.

The Southampton star’s odds for inclusion have fattened massively in tandem with Barkley’s shortening price; he’s now a 5/2 shot to travel to Brazil.

However, the fact that Lallana has impressed the manager whilst wearing the England shirt is sure to curry favour for the Saints man, as opposed to Barkley who, for all his obvious talent, is yet to make a notable impact in his brief international career.

An onus on valuing youth over experience could see Lallana preferred, so now would be the ideal time to get on his far beefier price to be selected in the World Cup squad.

Another interesting price emerging from the weekend’s action is that Ladbrokes are also shortening Everton’s odds to make the top four to 3/1.

The Toffees are currently on a 10-game unbeaten streak following their win over Swansea, a run that’s included six victories.

It’s carried them into fourth place, just two points off the summit, and with a run of friendly festive fixtures on the horizon, they could make some real inroads into landing a Champions League spot for next season, meaning this could be in for further reduction heading into 2014.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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