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England’s World Cup defender options: Cole gets nod over Shaw

| 11.05.2014

Here at News.Ladbrokes we’ve already given our slant on the goalkeeping options available to England manager Roy Hodgson ahead of the World Cup and now it’s the turn of the defenders.

There are always talking points in every area of national squad selection, but perhaps this year more than ever, England’s prospective defenders have got tongues wagging.

The club form of retired England international John Terry is one of them, while there has also been plenty of clamour to take Southampton’s 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw over the vastly experienced Ashley Cole.

As was the case when Hodgson named his Euro 2012 squad, we’d expect him to name another eight defenders for Brazil and below are our chosen picks:

Gary Cahill @ 1/25

The price says it all for the Chelsea man who has shown in the Champions League in particular that he has grown into the consummate centre-back.

Phil Jagielka @ 1/7

Jagielka is a stalwart of the Hodgson era and the Everton backline. Although he’s been injured recently, he is still a must pick.

John Terry @ 8/1 or John Stones @ 3/1

If JT could possibly be coaxed out of retirement he would be a certain starter alongside his Chelsea teammate Cahill, although there are no noises to suggest that will happen.

So, if as expected Terry stays at home, Everton’s teenager Stones gets our nod. In the absence of Jagielka, Stones has shown he has all the required attributes to be a top class central defender and deserves a chance.

Leighton Baines @ 1/20

The Everton left-back has also suffered from injury in the final weeks of the season, but has emerged as the first choice for England under Hodgson and rightly so given his raiding qualities and set-piece delivery.

Ashley Cole @ 1/3

One of the biggest points of contention is who should be Baines’ understudy? Although young Shaw has displayed huge potential in the Premier League, Cole’s return to the Chelsea side of late showed he’s still got one tournament left in him. Shaw’s time will come at the next Euros.

Glen Johnson @1/7

The Liverpool right-back has over 50 caps and although he is often criticised for his defensive abilities, he offers so much going forward, he has to go as first-choice right-back.

Phil Jones @ 1/3

Until very recently Jones’ looked set to miss out due to a shoulder injury, but luckily for him and England he should be passed fit. Every tournament squad needs a ‘utility man’ of Jones’ ilk, who can cover centre-back, right-back and defensive midfield at a push.

Chris Smalling @ 4/11

Had Kyle Walker not been afflicted with such a long-term pelvis injury he would have got the nod over Manchester United’s other utility man. However, Smalling’s defensive stats are very good at full-back and after missing Euro 2012 through injury he’ll be chomping at the bit to play in Brazil.

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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.