WORLD CUP:Players to watch

Shaun Wright-Phillips (England)

Hype is hard to escape in modern football, where a handful of promising appearances can see a young player thrust prematurely into the spotlight, but when bold claims are made about England midfielder Shaun Wright-Phillips, there is good reason to take heed. Wright-Phillips, in the words of his Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, “has the qualities that everyone is looking for in a modern footballer – he is quick, he is intelligent, he is creative”.

As a teenager Wright-Phillips, who is now 23, showed the strength of character to recover from being rejected by Nottingham Forest and instead went to Man City where he gradually made his name.

Theo Walcott (England)

Theo Walcott may not have kicked a ball in anger for Arsenal but the England teenager will be writing his name into the record books in the coming weeks.

The surprise name in provisional squad, Walcott will supplant Wayne Rooney as his country’s youngest ever player if he makes his debut. Walcott will be 17 years and 86 days old when England play their opening match against Paraguay, meaning he could become the second youngest player in finals history behind Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside, who appeared at the 1982 World Cup 41 days after his 17th birthday.