World Cup hopefuls send Hodgson timely reminder of their worth

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Roy Hodgson must have settled into his Goodison Park seat ahead of Everton’s Premier League clash with Norwich with a slight sense of deflation as he learned that midfield sensation Ross Barkley would miss the match through injury.

But the England supremo would have surely left the Merseyside ground feeling quite satisfied, after watching a star turn from an old midfield pro.

Gareth Barry couldn’t have asked for a better timed performance, scoring the opener in his temporary side’s 2-0 win and showing the country he’s still able to effect games despite his advancing years.

Having not played an international since May 2012, a 1-0 friendly win in Norway, Barry knows that his is a name towards the lower half of Hodgson’s list of potential Brazil travellers.

But, with flavour-of-the-month Barkley ruled out for up to six weeks with the toe injury he suffered in FA Cup exploits against QPR, Barry couldn’t have started his renewed chance at a World Cup audition any better.

With 53 caps and experience of two major tournaments to his name, Hodgson would be hard pressed to find a squad player with more experience to call on and the Man City loanee’s 5/1 price that he makes it to Brazil may well shrink before the squad is named.

Injuries have hit the Three Lions on the wing too, with Theo Walcott also suffering a heart-breaking injury during FA Cup week.

His hard luck looks to have almost certainly ruled him out of World Cup action and the prices to make the plane of a host of his understudies came tumbling down as a result.

However, one man whose price has remained as lengthy as the average Gareth Bale dribble is Adam Johnson, at 12/1.

The Sunderland winger scored his second, third and fourth goals of 2014 in the hammering of Fulham at Craven Cottage, a calendar year that is just four appearances old for the former Man City man and could yet see him travel to the summer’s footballing carnival.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.