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Blues in Brazil

Not many members of the press have even begun to talk up our players ahead of this years World Cup. That's about to change as we take an in-depth look at the Everton players representing their countries in the 2014 tournament.

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Lets begin. Where else better than our own country, England. In the past, many England coaches have been scared and somewhat fearful to take young players onto the world stage, such as the World Cup. But this year, however, sees a fresh and some would say, fearless approach to the national team. With young Everton players such as John Stones and Ross Barkley taken to Rio this summer, it could provide us with a unknown identity in some respects.

I hear you asking: Well, what can we expect from the four Everton players in the squad?

Phil Jagielka holds a wealth of experience from club football and in my opinion has been held back from breaking into the side thanks to John Terry. I believe Jags will have a strong campaign and will thrive. He has a brilliant opportunity as the leader of the defence to prove once more his ability against the best players the world has to offer.

Next we move on to Leighton Baines, another player has been held back from making the side consistently by an aging veteran. Now he has the chance Everton fans have been begging for years. This is the tournament he can lay to rest all the talk of him being weak in defence. I'm a firm believer that Baines is one of the best left sided defenders the world has to offer. His defensive attributes have improved significantly over the last season or so. Baines has always been a fantastic defender that gets forward, I feel if we are able to keep a settled squad, as the tournament progresses we will see his link up play with the winger in front of him, come to full use.

The one to watch, Ross Barkley. After Roy Hodgson's super critical view of the teenager's performance in the warm-up game against Ecuador, I feel Ross will be even more eager to show Roy how very wrong he was with his comments. I think the actual feeling that Hodgson felt after the Ecuador game was one of surprise and panic. I really don't think Roy thought he was going to make his team and after the warm-up match he may now have a panic on, to try and incorporate Barkley into his team. The kid is fearless, something England have needed for years. He will beat 4-5 players for you and that's something you can't leave on the subs bench. Play him in his right position and Ross could open a few eyes across the globe.

Finally for the England team, John Stones, who has fallen back into his standby position after being involved in the two warm-up matches in Miami. Unfortunately this World Cup may have come a year to soon for the lad, but you can bet your bottom dollar he will be in the traveling party in the 2016 European championships.

Onto Belgium, the tournament's dark horses in many peoples eyes. The one confirmed Everton player in their team is of course, Kevin Mirallas. The season just gone is one I reckon Kevin enjoyed the most so far in his football career. Playing in the position he is comfortable with, being a key player in the set pieces and scoring some scintillating goals, for large parts of the season he was unstoppable. Mirallas maybe didn't receive as many plaudits at the end of season awards as he might have done if he hadn't gotten injured late into the campaign. He helped us over the line in a few games and this World Cup should be one of his and his country's best. He will be surrounded by a team of pure, young talent, from back to front. Super Kev is one for the big stage and I reckon he won't go unmentioned come the end of the tournament. After having a longer break from the game than most he will be raring to get going.

Finally, we make a trip to the States to see our old friend Tim Howard. The somewhat underrated shot stopper has just received his 100th international cap after featuring in a warm-up match last week. Tim played a pivotal part in keeping us in games last season and I feel he will get the opportunity to do the same for his country. The USA aren't considered as serious contenders but they will take a few scalps with them, be sure of that. Howard enjoys facing the very best at club level and he will be itching to get his gloves on and face the very best at international level too for what could be his last World Cup.

Editor's Note:

We decided to make a special addition here for Blues in Brazil - the man who was once a Blue and will always be a Blue - Tim Cahill. Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou has purged a lot of the veterans from the side, but Cahill remains one of the cornerstones of this squad. After another excellent season for the NY Red Bulls where he scored the quickest goal in MLS history, Cahill faces a huge uphill battle taking Australia into a group with the two finalists from last time around Spain and Netherlands, and another unheralded side Chile.