FORMER England star Joe Cole is hoping Adam Lallana starts against Italy tonight.

Cole, who this week signed for Aston Villa, believes the Saints skipper can play an integral role for an England side capable of springing big surprises.

“He's very similar in style of play to me. I really like him,” said Cole.

“I always had a keen eye on him watching him come up through the leagues. “He looks at home in international football and I hope he plays.”

Cole believes England have a “great chance” of winning the World Cup in Brazil.

The 32-year-old, who featured in England’s previous three World Cup finals squads, said: “It's going to be exciting and I think we have got a great chance of doing it.

“I agree with what Wayne Rooney has said - it's the best squad England have had in years.

“The reason for the lower expectation is that these young players in the squad are at the start of their careers.

“They're not pivotal players in the big squads in the country - but they will be.

“They've got a great chance and it's perhaps their best chance as well because in four years’ time they’ll all be established and there’ll be a massive load of expectation on them.

“For me, looking from the outside, all the stars seem to be aligning. I think they’ll do well.”