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England in-form XI: Everton star keeps spot warm for teammate

| 03.03.2014

With Manchester City, Sunderland, Manchester United and West Brom all out of Premier League action this weekend, it’s seen some shock names sneak into the England in-form XI.

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Don’t all shout at us at once, but John Ruddy was the only English keeper playing in the Premier League this weekend. He makes the team (his third straight appearance) by default, despite being beaten 4-1. He’s 4/5 to go to Rio.

At the back Jon Flanagan continued his impressive string of performances for Liverpool, but is so underrated that he isn’t priced up to make the plane. On the opposite flank Leighton Baines (1/20) did more to suggest he’ll be the first choice left-back come the Italy clash.

In central defence, Baines’ Everton mucker John Stones (20/1) took the injured Phil Jagielka’s (1/14) place in the line-up as well as in our graphic thanks to a mature display against West Ham.

The youngster is joined by forgotten England international Michael Dawson, an 8/1 shot, after the Tottenham skipper rose to the physical challenge put forward by Cardiff.

The midfield has a flat-three feel about it with Ashley Westwood a brand new name to add to the mix at 33/1. The Villa man gave a solid performance in trouncing Norwich, adding an assist to his name in the process.

He’s joined by in-form regulars Gareth Barry (6/1) and Jordan Henderson (1/1) after strong showings once again for either half of Merseyside.

In the front three another Villa man, Gabby Agbonlahor, makes a first appearance here following a rampaging display on the wing and can be snapped up at 25/1 should Roy Hodgson refer to this series before naming his World Cup squad.

Aaron Lennon lines up on the other side and is 9/4 to make his third tournament squad and first since 2010.

Up front, Glenn Murray leads the line having made a substantial impact on Crystal Palace’s match with Swansea, scoring the equalising penalty and being unlucky not to snatch a winner late on. He’s priceless.

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Author

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.