Michael Dawson to spring a surprise at World Cup?
By Mark Ritson.
Michael Dawson’s call-up for the injured Rio Ferdinand could be just what England needed. Dawson is a similar defender to John Terry in the heart of the defence and despite Ledley King being favourite to step in this Saturday against the USA, a Dawson-Terry combination could come into effect in the later stages of the tournament.
Rio is a cultured centre back – not a tough tackling one. King is arguably similar to that as well, but a tough England defence could be key to success. Other options include Jamie Carragher and Michael Upson, but neither have had a better season than Dawson – or King. England are going to need players who will throw their bodies at anything and take one for the team, so to speak. What are the chances of a King-Dawson pairing coming into effect if John Terry picks up an injury? Or supposing if King’s knee starts to swell up? Dawson should be the man to step in. One thing is for certain, both he and King won’t let the team down coming off the back of a successful season at Tottenham.
Harry Redknapp must be proud of how many Tottenham players are favourites to make the 1st XI this Saturday and even Tom Huddlestone can say he’s had a brilliant season despite failing to make the plane to South Africa. The chances of Ferdinand, Terry, King and Upson making the next World Cup are arguably slim, so Fabio Capello needs to start preparing for the future – and Dawson must be part of that.
Aaron Lennon has come back from injury and will want hit form just at the right time during this World Cup campaign. The speedy winger destroyed Croatia last September as we all know, but was a bit-part player at the last World Cup in 2006. His agility and pace has made the right-wing position his own and will be vital to creating England chances from the start of matches. That gives Shaun Wright-Phillips the chance to come on and make a different type of contribution to Lennon – something that will benefit England in winding down the opposition.
Jermain Defoe – lethal for Spurs, but having to play a super-sub role for England. Capello has indicated he likes Rooney to partner a big striker such as Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch, but Defoe could easily play as the main striker and Rooney just playing in behind. It’s a position which has caused much debate, just like other positions, but given a chance and on his day, Defoe can be deadly. Let’s hope he can do this for England because he still arguably has a lot to prove at international level.
He’s scored many a time for England and bamboozles opposing defenders with his frame. He also has a hot girlfriend. Yes, Peter Crouch, again, will make a massive difference to England. Critics suggest he can only score against the smaller nations and needs to prove himself against one of the top ten teams in the world, but maybe that’s what he is good at? He can change a game and make an impact if the team aren’t creating too many chances.
Remember in 2006 against Trinidad and Tobago in the 2nd group match? His opening goal on 82 mins was met with a rising leap – something only he could have pulled off, and it erased any potential embarrassment for the whole team. Whether Capello decided to start with him with Rooney is debatable, but it’s likely, just like Defoe, he will step off the bench as a super-sub. Heskey does not have the same impact as a substitute, which makes him favourite to start matches ahead of Crouch.
Whatever Capello chooses for USA and for the rest of the tournament, he’ll be safe in the knowledge that ‘arrys Tottenham players are there to make a difference – just like they did when they qualified for the Champions League at club level.
Is Dawson’s call-up a blessing in disguise? Could he make his mark on international football on the biggest stage of all after a terrific season at Tottenham and force his way into the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign?
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