England reveal shirt numbers

Leighton Baines (AFP)
Leighton Baines (AFP)

London - England's shirt numbers for the forthcoming World Cup suggest Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is a strong contender to start his side's opening match against Italy despite an injury-plagued season.

The Football Association announced England's squad numbers for the tournament in Brazil on Thursday and Wilshere was handed the number seven shirt.

Wilshere has endured a troubled season on the injury front, making only two substitute appearances since suffering a foot problem while playing in England's friendly win against Denmark in March.

But England manager Roy Hodgson's decision to give him the number seven shirt suggests the midfielder could be in line to start their opening World Cup group fixture against Italy on June 14.

Frank Lampard also looks to be in the first-team reckoning as he has been given the number eight shirt.

Danny Welbeck will wear 11 despite his poor season at Manchester United.

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana have been widely tipped to sneak ahead of Welbeck into the first team, but they have been given 19 and 20 respectively.

Leighton Baines looks to be Hodgson's first-choice left-back as the Everton star will wear three, while his main rival Luke Shaw has been handed 23.

Captain Steven Gerrard will wear four while star striker Wayne Rooney has been given the No.10 shirt.

Daniel Sturridge's reward for his fine season with Liverpool is to be given the England number nine shirt.

Hodgson also appears to have confirmed Phil Jagielka (six) and Gary Cahill (five) as his first-choice centre-half pairing.

Glen Johnson, the only full-time right-back named in Hodgson's squad, will wear number two, while Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart takes the number one jersey.

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