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Hodgson’s latest England squad shows alarming lack of options

| 03.03.2014

With the World Cup only a stone’s throw away England fans ought to be more than a little disconcerted by the fact only three centre-halves have been selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad to face Denmark.

Furthermore, one of that trio, Chris Smalling, is currently suffering from an identity crisis as he splits his time between centre-back and roving right-back at Manchester United, while Steven Caulker – a 3/1-shot to make the final 23 – is part of the second-leakiest defence in the Premier League at Cardiff.

Although Everton skipper Phil Jagielka has been forced out through injury, this only leaves Chelsea’s Gary Cahill as a first-choice central defender within the Three Lions ranks.

Given that Hogson saw fit to call up more goalkeepers (four) than central defenders, when everyone knows Joe Hart only really requires one proper understudy in Brazil plus an emergency third pick, it shows a worrying lack of faith and options in other specialist English centre-backs.

It makes the decision not to even entertain coaxing England’s best centre-back, John Terry, out of retirement all the more baffling.

But even without Terry in the frame, surely there were other names in the hat worth trying out rather than picking the likes of midfielder Tom Cleverley, whose performances in the Premier
League for an ailing United side have done little to suggest he is up for international duty.

Surely now would be the time to test the international mettle of one of the other top-flight defenders that have been impressing for their clubs this season such as West Ham’s James Tomkins (33/1), Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross (16/1) or Hull’s Curtis Davies (25/1).

With Phil Jones constantly in a battle with his own fitness there is no guarantee he will be able to make Brazil either, so this is an area of real concern for England ahead of the World Cup.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.