Though England achieved what was largely expected of them in this summer’s European Championships, thoughts have already turned to what manager Roy Hodgson must do to push his side on to the next level.
Despite there being a constant outcry for an injection of youth into the squad, just five of Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2012 were over thirty. But how many of those in the twilight of their career will want to be considered for the next tournaments qualifying campaign?
Captain Steven Gerrard will be 34 when the 2014 World Cup begins in Brazil, and has already confirmed that he has spoken with Hodgson regarding his position going forward.
Assisting three of his side’s five goals, the Liverpool midfielder was unquestionably England’s star player this summer, clearly relishing the responsibility bestowed upon him since permanently inheriting the captain’s armband.
Paddy Power offer odds of 13.0 (12/1) for Gerrard, who is just four short of 100 caps, to make a dramatic U-turn and retire from international football before the World Cup qualifiers begin in September.
Goalkeeper Robert Green has just 12 caps, but is still considered to be the main understudy to Joe Hart.
Having just secured a move to an upwardly mobile Queens Park Rangers, there is every chance that Green will still be considered for squad selection. However, if you fancy the 32 year old to follow fellow stoppers Paul Robinson and Ben Foster in declaring himself unavailable for selection, you can get odds of 17.0 (16/1).
Having not broken in to the England starting line-up until quite recently, Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Scott Parker will most probably remain in contention, even with the imminent return of Jack Wilshere.
However, if you think that Parker will be put off by the competition for his place, you can back him at odds of 7.0 (6/1) to call time on his international career.
Ashley Cole, arguably England’s most consistent performer over the last ten years, is highly likely to still be first choice left back in Brazil should they qualify, so it would probably take more than the 8.5 (15/2) on offer to tempt you to be on the Chelsea man quitting international duty.
Cole’s club teammate John Terry was also impressive this summer, and fewer are more passionate when playing for their country. However, with young defenders coming through, and on-going controversies off the pitch, the 3.25 (9/4) offered for Terry, now 31, to hang up his boots looks intriguing.
Frank Lampard, who recently turned 34, was injured in preparation for the Championships and is 3.5 (5/2) to step down, while Rio Ferdinand, who missed out on the tournament completely is favourite to retire at odds of 2.75 (7/4).