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Upson vying for central role as England prepare for Algeria

| 16.06.2010

Even after Rob Green’s costly goalkeeping error, the spotlight in the England camp has turned to the conundrum in central defence.

With Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King injured and Jamie Carragher unconvincing against the USA, the heart of defence is under scrutiny, and Matthew Upson is hoping that he will be called upon to solidify this problem area.

The West Ham captain, who has 19 caps, is desperate to be in Fabio Capello’s starting XI for England’s next match against Algeria on Friday, a fixture where England are 8/15 to keep a clean sheet.

There are concerns among fans and the media that a centre-back partnership between Upson and Terry would not have the required pace to cope with top international opposition.

Statistics, however, paint a different picture. In the six internationals where Upson has started alongside Terry in central defence, England have won on all six occasions.

Upson has spoken of his frustration at falling behind King and Carragher in the pecking order, though if anything should happen to Carragher, Upson may get his chance.

He and Michael Dawson visited a South African orphanage this week, but the Tottenham defender will be chief among Upson’s competition for a starting spot against Algeria.

Upson already has an international goal to his name, which he scored in a friendly against Germany, and the former Arsenal centre-back is a tempting long-shot of 50/1 to score first against Algeria.

How do you think England will fare against Algeria? They are 11/1 to win 4-0. See the full England v Algeria market.



Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.