In-form Delph could be in line for England World Cup squad selection

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World Cup giddiness grows amongst the masses with every passing day and, as the unveiling of England’s opponents for Brazil 2014 draws ever closer, Ladbrokes have opened the book on which individuals will be boarding the plane for South America.

The expansive shortlist is populated with a host of names whose prospects of inclusion are easy to call (1/50-rated Wayne Rooney – in, 66/1 Bournemouth striker Lewis Grabban – out) but some names have deceptive levels of value attached. Here are five players we’ve ran the rule over.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 6/4

Youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t featured since the opening day in which he damaged knee ligaments, but he should be back playing before the end of the season.

Fast, agile and in possession of an on-field maturity that belies his age, the Arsenal winger has made himself a firm favourite with Roy Hodgson, who confirmed his admiration of the 20-year-old by selecting him for the European Championship in 2012.

Verdict – In

Joleon Lescott – 1/1

Rarely able to get a game at Manchester City, where centre halves are at a premium that even their stinking rich owners apparently struggle to afford, Lescott has fallen way down the pecking order with the Three Lions.

Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill have been two of the consistently strong performers in Hodgson’s back four and won’t be dislodged, injury permitting. In reserve, the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Steven Caulker could both stake better claims for World Cup inclusion than Lescott, so steer clear of his price.

Verdict – Out

Luke Shaw – 8/1

The fledgling left back earns plaudits on a weekly basis for his ever-improving presence in a strong Southampton side, but his only hope of catching an FA-paid flight to Brazil this summer is that an injury pandemic strikes.

Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines have the two left side of defence spots covered, with Kieran Gibbs acting as their understudy. There’s even cause to argue 10/1 Ryan Bertrand would actually be ahead of Shaw in the race for a squad place.

Verdict – Out

Rickie Lambert – 7/4

The most likely Saints star to represent the south coast club in Brazil is bustling striker Lambert.

With two goals from three caps, the Merseyside-born hitman is unlikely to be starting in a team with a fit, first-choice frontline, but he keeps bagging in the Premier League and will be included owing to the dearth of options available to Hodgson.

Verdict – In

Fabian Delph – 16/1

The best bet of the long shots on offer is Aston Villa’s all-action midfielder, Delph, who has been flourishing this season and rapidly running out of mantelpiece space after winning each of the club’s player of the month awards this season.

He can consider himself unfortunate not to have been included for the forthcoming friendlies with Chile and Germany and, should he maintain his current level of form, he’ll be hard to ignore come May.

Verdict – In

All odds and markets accurate as of time and date of publishing

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