Hodgson stars to keep it clean

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: June 7 2014, 23:01 BST

David John says England can round off their preparations for the World Cup in good style against Honduras tonight.

Joe Hart can help solidify England's backline
Joe Hart can help solidify England's backline

I have to say that I thought Roy Hodgson was a bit harsh in his assessment of Ross Barkley after England drew 2-2 with Ecuador in Miami on Wednesday.

While the majority of observers were hailing a hugely promising display from the ever-improving Everton midfielder, Hodgson was keen to keep a lid on the issue and focus on the odd pass that went astray from the Barkley boot before claiming we had all become "obsessed" with him.

The call for Barkley to be given a start against Italy next weekend grows louder and he may well get another chance to push for a place in south Florida on Saturday when England wrap up their World Cup preparations against Honduras.

Hodgson's midfield options have been reduced somewhat with Raheem Sterling serving a suspension for his red card in midweek while the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is touch and go over the next fortnight after suffering a knee injury.

I certainly think Barkley deserves his chance in there with Steven Gerrard and Adam Lallana likely to go from the start having sat out Wednesday's encounter and 7/2 for the 20-year-old to score anytime could be tempting for some punters if he is allowed to maraud forward in similar fashion.

But it is the other end of the field that hopefully Hodgson will shore up after Chris Smalling and Phil Jones struggled to cope convincingly with Ecuador's front line.

I get the feeling that starting duo Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka will be back in action while Joe Hart should take over in goal after Ben Foster hardly covered himself in glory in terms of his decision making when Ecuador posed a threat.

How good Hodgson will be when the serious stuff starts remains to be seen but I think he will be after two pretty straightforward outcomes here - a win and a clean sheet.

And to that end, I reckon England will deliver.

Honduras don't match-up in terms of quality compared to Ecuador and having lost 2-0 against Turkey and then 4-2 to Israel over the last eight days, England could not have picked a better opponent to finish their preparations.

So the advice is to take the 5/4 for an England win to nil and make the final leg of the journey to Brazil a pleasant one.