With just 11 caps in the last year between them, Andy Carroll, Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott will be hoping to shine throughout the 2017/2018 season to encourage Gareth Southgate to take a chance on them in next year’s World Cup finals. Although impressing Southgate will ultimately win them a place on the plane, staying fit all season will be vital, with Wilshere and Carroll known for struggling to stay injury free.
Three Players Searching for England Recalls for Russia 2018
After an impressive run of form for Newcastle in 2010 which saw him score 11 goals in 19 appearances, Andy Carroll made his England debut aged 21 in a friendly against France in November of that year. Four months later Carroll featured once more in a friendly against Ghana, scoring England’s only goal in the game. The following season, the tall centre forward featured 47 times for Liverpool scoring nine goals in all competitions and this was enough to convince Roy Hodgson to take the striker to the 2012 European Championships. Carroll scored his second goal for his country against Sweden in the tournament, helping the side to a 3-2 victory with a powerful header displaying one of his many attributes as a forward. However, from there, Andy Carroll’s International appearances dramatically plummeted and has not featured for England for five years. Carroll has been plagued by injury his whole career, since signing for West Ham in 2012, the English forward has suffered from an injury in every season which has severely damaged any possible return to the national side. In the opening eight games of this season, Carroll has featured a total of five times and if he is to give Southgate something to think about next summer, he must stay fit this season.
If Carroll was to make the England squad next summer, he would certainly bring something different to this current England side. Harry Kane is all but achieved a starting role if he stays injury free this year. However, if Kane was to suffer from injury and miss the World Cup, Carroll could potentially be a great replacement. The tall centre forward is a menacing figure up top being able to effectively hold the ball up and bring other players into the game. Carroll would be the focus point up top and the likes of Dele Ali would suit this style, being able to pounce down on Carroll’s knock downs and bring England forward on the attack.
At the age of just 17, Theo Walcott was brought into Sven-Göran Eriksson’s 2006 World Cup squad, despite making just 13 appearances in senior football. This came as quite a shock for many football fans with Walcott beating the likes of Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe to a place in the squad. On the 30th of May 2006, Walcott became the youngest ever senior player to feature for England against Hungary at Old Trafford. The winger didn’t make an appearance in the World Cup and when Steve McClaren was placed in charge after the competition, Walcott was demoted down to the Under 21-s. The Arsenal man continued to break records for England and in 2008 he became the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick for the country against Croatia. Despite protest from Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, Walcott featured for the Under 21’s in the 2009 UEFA European Under-21 Championship.
Having started both International friendlies prior to the 2010 World Cup, it came as quite a shock to many that the midfielder was left out of the final squad with Capello himself admitting a year later that “he should have picked him”. Under Roy Hodgson, Walcott was back in favour and was in the final squad for Euro 2012, particularly shining against Sweden in the competition, scoring one and assisting one in England’s 3-2 victory. Remarkably, by January 2014, Walcott had been capped 36 times by England with the country winning in 27 of those matches, however, the midfielder was set to miss his third Wold Cup in a row after being ruled out for 6 months. Walcott was then left out once again ahead of Euro 2016 and bounced back the following season with Arsenal, scoring 17 goals in 29 games. Yet this was not enough to convince Southgate and Walcott was informed in 2017 he was dropped for the games against Germany and Lithuania.
Walcott has not featured for England since 2016 and he must break into the Arsenal side if he is to force his way into contention for next year’s World Cup with the forward himself believing he “can work his way back into England’s World Cup team”. In a very young English side, Walcott would bring tons of experience into the team. Being able to play up front or on the wing gives Southgate two options and with his blistering pace and composed finishing, Walcott will be determined to give the England boss something to think about come May next year.
Hailed once as one of “best players there are in his position” by German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jack Wilshere has enjoyed a mixed International career. Similarly, to Carroll, Wilshere has been plagued by injury throughout his career which has been damaging for both Arsenal and England. On the 7th of August 2010, Jack Wilshere became the 10th youngest player to ever play for England at the age of 18 and 222 days, coming on for Steven Gerrard. Six months later, Wilshere made his full debut for the national side in a friendly against Denmark, impressing manager Capello by playing in front of the back four. Ahead of Euro 2012, the chances of the midfielder making the Championships looked promising with two appearances in the latter stages of the qualifying campaign but missed out through injury. In February 2013, in a 2-1 win over Brazil in a friendly, Wilshere made his comeback to the National side with his first start in two years and was subsequently named man of the match with widespread praise from Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard. Wilshere featured for England in a major tournament for the first time in the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and came on as a second half substitution against the Italians and featured once more in the final game against Costa Rica. In the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, the Englishman made 7 appearances and was incredibly named man of the match in six of these. Despite only just recovering from injury ahead of the Euro’s, Roy Hodgson still sided with the midfielder and named him in his squad.
This season could be make or break for the English midfielder ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018. Wilshere must force himself into the Arsenal side once more after a loan move last season at Bournemouth and must stay fit if he has any chance of featuring next summer. A good run of 15, 16 games and Wilshere may get called up in the International friendlies in 2018 and then it will be up to Southgate to make the call. However, if Wilshere does break into the National side once more, it could be very beneficial to England. Southgate’s men have been criticised in the latter stages of this year’s qualifying campaign for playing too defensively. Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier, two defensively minded midfielders started against Slovenia and it was debated after the game if this was really needed. Had Wilshere been in the side instead, you would have seen a more attack minded midfield where his superb vision and range of passing would have been a warm welcome for this slow, England side. Jack Wilshere could yet play a huge role in this England side in the years to come.