Asked for his analysis of England, former France international Thierry Henry immediately highlighted Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling as a player who could thrive on the World Cup stage.

Following two days of exhilarating football in Brazil already, the Three Lions join the party tonight when they cross swords with Italy in their Group D opener in Manaus.

Roy Hodgson's starting XI has been the subject of fervent discussion throughout the week, with various options available to the manager with regards to his attack.

Sterling has catapulted himself into contention after a second half of the Barclays Premier League season in which his form moved Brendan Rodgers to compare him with any peer in Europe.

Dispatches from England training in the build-up to the tournament have been uniform in their acclaim for the 19-year-old - and now Henry has revealed his appreciation too.

"I would like to see Sterling out there - I like him," the prolific ex-Arsenal striker commented in his role as a television pundit for the BBC.

"He played ever so well with Liverpool in the last three months," added Henry, who featured at four editions of the World Cup. "Hopefully he can perform."