England captain Steven Gerrard has called on his Liverpool teammates to take their fine club form into the national team. Gerrard is among Liverpool five players in the party to take on Denmark at Wembley on Wednesday in what is coach Roy Hodgson’s last chance to see his players at close hand before he names his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup.
Liverpool have been in sensational form in the Premier League and currently sit second in the table. While the places of Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Sturridge are all-but guaranteed, the upturn in the form of both Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling has earned them recalls. And Gerrard is hopeful that those performances can be transmitted to the international arena -- something with which England players have often struggled in the past.
“I think we've got five [Liverpool players] in the squad and everyone's in good form and feeling very confident," he said. "Hopefully if the lads are selected they can bring those performances to Wembley. There's a great feeling back at Liverpool and we're really, really happy with where we're sitting in the table and everyone's feeling great."
Hodgson has selected an enlarged squad of 30 players as he looks to make the most of the opportunity before he has to start whittling down the hopefuls to be on the plane to Brazil. Alongside Liverpool, another club richly represented in Hodgson’s party is Southampton.
Rickie Lambert, Jay Rodriguez and Adam Lallana, who were involved in last November’s friendlies, have been joined for the first time by 18-year-old Luke Shaw. Hodgson has confirmed that the left-back will feature at some stage, as will Ashley Cole, who has seen little playing time of late with Chelsea. That means Leighton Baines is unlikely to be utilized and Hodgson was quick to point out that he will be far from the only one, due to limits on substitutions and the England coach’s desire to get a look at some less experienced members of his squad.
“We will be looking at different players," he explained. "It's been two very good days training and I've been impressed by the attitude and the vigor the players have shown, but with 29 players there will be an awful lot who don't feature in the game. We know about Leighton but there will be more than that as I can only use 17.
“We don't ever want to lose games and in those last two games [against Germany and Chile] we didn't set out to put our best teams on the field. This is our last game before the World Cup and I believe we'll be good enough and have a strong enough team for it not to happen.”
Kyle Walker is the only man to have pulled out of the squad, while Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones couldn’t be called up due to injuries. Denmark, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, have a doubt over the fitness of Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen.
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick off from Wembley Stadium at 3 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Sports 2, with a live stream available on Fox Soccer 2Go.