World Cup: England plot route to finals with Jarrod Bowen backed to join them

West Ham star trains with squad ahead of Uefa Nations League opener against Hungary

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England start their World Cup countdown in earnest on Saturday with West Ham star Jarrod Bowen being backed to force his way into the reckoning for Qatar.

The winter World Cup has led to a rejigged international schedule that means England will play four Nations League matches in just 10 days in June, starting with a trip to Hungary, followed by Germany away, and Italy and Hungary at home.

And 25-year-old Bowen will be hoping to take his club form – he scored 18 goals and 13 assists – to the Three Lions stage.

Bowen took part in training with Harry Kane, Mason Mount, Declan Rice and the rest of the squad in the build-up to the internationals, and former West Ham and England star Joe Cole believes he will be an instant hit, along with fellow new recruit, Leicester defender James Justin.

“For Jarrod Bowen and James Justin, I think it’s going to be a massive moment for them in their respective journeys,” said Cole.

“They’ve come a long way, Jarrod in particular. He’s come from Hull to West Ham and he’s been outstanding this year. He really, really deserves it and he’s a good lad.

“I think he could be one of them that takes to being in an England shirt, I really do.

“For certain players the shirt is too heavy. I think Jarrod Bowen, just from the little I know him, (will wear) the shirt well. I am really looking forward to seeing him in an England shirt.

“Gareth will probably be using it [the Nations League] as a dry run for the World Cup.

“I think it’s actually a good opportunity because you get to see how the players operate when they’re away for a large period of time.

“And the games are competitive, which really helps. I think that’s so important. I mean, I like the Nations League and I like the idea of a bit of competition."

Updated: June 03, 2022, 7:01 AM