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Shaw's chance to stake his claim
Luke Shaw will tomorrow get the chance to stake a claim for a World Cup place as he comes head-to-head with England rival Leighton Baines.
The teenage left back is hoping to do enough in the remaining three games of the season to convince England boss Roy Hodgson that he is worthy of inclusion for the trip to Brazil this summer.
Baines is currently seen as England’s first choice left back, but Hodgson has not ruled out either Shaw or Chelsea’s Ashley Cole winning the shirt in time for the World Cup opener.
Cole made a rare start for Chelsea in their goalless Champions League semi-final first leg tie in midweek, putting in a good display at a timely moment to remind Hodgson of his class and experience.
It has heaped the pressure back on to Baines and Shaw ahead of a meeting between their two clubs, Saints and Everton, at St Mary’s tomorrow lunchtime.
With time running out to convince Hodgson, the three left backs are almost certainly playing for just two places in the final 23-man squad which will be named two days after the end of the season.
Shaw put in a stirring display at Aston Villa last weekend but his rivals are also playing well.
If he can outshine Baines tomorrow it will be a major boost to his chances.
Shaw certainly has youth on his side as, at 18, he is nine years younger than Baines.
The Saints starlet has 15 years on Cole, though the Chelsea veteran can boast 107 England caps.
However, Baines does have one major plus as he can deliver goals from set pieces.
He has scored five times in the Premier League this season with three coming direct from penalties and the other two from free kicks.
Shaw has yet to score a senior goal for Saints, but is not on set piece duty.
Baines also has three assists to his name in the league this term, while Shaw has just the one.
Lallana looks set to make the squad but Lambert’s place remains slightly in doubt.
His main threat appears to be from Andy Carroll.
Though Sam Allardyce last week admitted the West Ham striker is not 100 per cent match sharp yet, Hammers midfielder Stewart Downing believes his teammate should go anyway.
He said: “He (Carroll) knows that Roy Hodgson is a big fan of his and if he stays fit, even if he didn't score between now and the end of the season, he is a big threat for England and I think he (Hodgson) will probably take him.
“That is my own opinion. He needs to keep playing well and take his good form into the World Cup.”
He added: “He is a different option. People look at Rooney and Sturridge and they may well be starters.
“They are totally different players to Andy in that system. He is an option. If you need him off the bench or to start, he is difficult to mark. He is a big lad, a handful and people can play off him.
“If you put it in that area, he gets on the end of it. He is a target to hit. He is in with a hell of a chance of going.”
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