The recent friendlies played in Florida have done little to inspire confidence going into the World Cup. The 2-2 draw with Ecuador was poor, but nothing compared to England's failure to beat 10 man Honduras. These games appear to have left more questions than answers, but whose positions are really under threat?
There's just no other place to start. Rooney looks tired, devoid of confidence and generally rubbish;-hardly an encouraging sign going into a major tournament. His goal against Ecuador was so easy it's difficult to credit and aside from that tap-in, he's looked completely lost. If Rooney was a fringe player attempting to prove himself in the friendly matches there's no chance he would start v Italy. Should it be any different because he carries a big reputation? A significant issue appears that Rooney is being played out of position and looks totally uncomfortable doing so. Perhaps somebody like Ross Barkley would do a better job than Rooney in his current form. Playing Rooney would arguably represent an attempt to cram England's best players into the line-up when Roy might be better served to be pragmatic and drop Rooney.
Johnson is a significant worry. Towards the back end of last season he looked seriously poor, as his performance against Crystal Palace detailed. His decision to tweet out in his own defense (seen below) came across as an act of desperation, an attempt to cover-up the fact that he'd played terribly.
So many sofa experts in this game.... Absolutely no idea about football what so ever! #Jokers— Glen Johnson (@glen_johnson) May 5, 2014
It was interesting that Roy Hodgson opted to try James Milner at right back against Ecuador. Although, this was a failed experiment, it perhaps indicated that he is worried about Johnson. Johnson's performance against Honduras did nothing to prove him otherwise and England's lack of depth in this position is of real concern. If there was another solid right back in the squad I'm confident that Johnson would have lost his place.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones-
Smalling and Jones looked shaky against Ecuador and did nothing to press their claim for a starting spot. Whilst Cahill and Jagielka weren't exactly convincing against Honduras, they looked slightly more assured. Maybe Hodgson should have done everything he could to get John Terry out of retirement.
Sturridge played well in the game against Peru but missed a couple of really decent chances against Honduras and almost appeared to be trying too hard to impress. Sturridge will surely start v Italy, although there's a small chance Lambert might nick his spot.
Wilshere spent much of the Ecuador game on his back and did little v Honduras. Given Jordan Henderson's performance on Saturday, Wilshere's position looks under threat.
Ian Wright said before the game on Saturday that he hoped Welbeck would put in a good performance to shift the critics off his back. Sadly those critics remain firmly in place Ian, mainly because he's pretty bad. His first touch looks unsure and the occasional time he did something good, he lacked an end product. Should he even be in the England squad?
That's just a selection of players, who in my opinion, have underperformed in the recent friendlies and may now find their positions under threat. Roy seemingly has some big decisions to make, the biggest of which being over Wayne Rooney.