Group D: One to watch

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Brazilian forward Bernard, Australia’s Matthew Leckie and Colombian front-man Teo Gutierrez are all itching to stake their claim on the global stage, and England’s Ross Barkley is all too eager to join them.

Ross Barkley

Everton’s 20-year-old sensation Ross Barkley is billed as a future star in the England midfield, and on the back of some thrilling Premiership performances, he is pushing hard for a place for a starting berth in Roy Hodgson’s team.

Built more like an English centre-back, Barkley has silky skills to complement his midfield power-play, and he scores some breath-taking goals. A central or attacking midfielder, Barkley’s strength is enhanced by his tigh control, pace and a powerful long-range shot. Having featured in over 30 matches for Everton this past season, he was shortlisted a contender for this year’s PFA Young Player of the Year award.

After featuring for England at the 2013 Under-20 World Cup, Barkley received his first senior call-up a few months later, making his debut in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Maldova in September last year. 

Likely to be a fringe player in Roy Hodgson’s side, Barkley’s impact off the bench could very well be key to England’s overall performance in Brazil.

READ: World Cup Profile: England

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