With World Cup qualifiers on the horizon, it is time for Roy Hodgson to start thinking about who will be in his squad. Most positions are relatively sorted and won't change too much from the last squad but a position that is being hotly contested is the once certain centre back position.
Only a few years ago was this England's most consistent position with the reliable Rio Ferdinand and John Terry starting most games but, that has all changed. Rio Ferdinand has been effectively excluded from the England set up under Roy Hodgson and It doesn't look like he will ever return under Hodgson. John Terry on the other hand is in Hodgson's plans as England boss but, the Chelsea defender is struggling with Injuries and fitness, never mind the constant media attention due to his antics.
The centre backs that were in Capello's World Cup squad of 2010 have disappeared off the international scene quite drastically, with John Terry being an exception. Rio Ferdinand, Ledley King, Matthew Upson and Jamie Carragher are all no longer playing for their country. King and Carragher both retired from international football soon after and while Ferdinand still plays at the top of his game for Manchester United, Upson plays his football in the Championship for Brighton.
One player I haven't mentioned as a member of the English 2010 World Cup squad is Tottenham centre back Michael Dawson. Dawson was brought in to the squad as a replacement for the injured Rio Ferdinand days before the tournament kicked off. Dawson is one I didn't mention simply because he is still an England international that I think will be called up for the two qualifiers at the end of the month.
Dawson has been in sensational form for Tottenham this season after he rejecting the money from QPR, to prove his worth at Spurs and under Andre Villas-Boas. I think Tottenham fans appreciated his commitment to the team and Villas-Boas has realised how much Tottenham would have missed Dawson. When he has played this season, Spurs have only conceded 9 goals and in 20 games. It is no doubt that Dawson is a strong defender and a powerful leader. He deserves a call up but who else deserves a call up for a very contested spot.
Continuing with Tottenham centre backs I would have to say Steven Caulker should be given a chance to earn an England jersey. The youngster hasn't had many starts for Spurs this season but had an outstanding season for Swansea Last season which hasn't been rewarded with any senior caps. For those that don't know or remember, Caulker was in hot water last year with the Serbia FA and UEFA for his part in the incidents following the U21 game in Serbia. I'm not saying this will have a major effect on him playing for the England senior side but I'm sure the FA will try to keep him out of the spotlight for a while.
Another set of team mates showing some promise are Chris Smalling and Phil Jones. The two Manchester United defenders are showing some good form when they get the chance to perform in the United side but their lack of appearances will affect their chances. They are both young and carry heavy price tags which they have had to battle against at United to prove their worth. I think these two are also unlikely inclusions but when then international friendlies against the Republic of Ireland and Brazil come around, they will get their chance.
A player that has impressed me this season is West Ham defender James Tomkins. Tomkins has proven his Premier League worth by steering West Ham to a mid table position with only 10 games left. The Hammers will want to keep a close eye on Tomkins because many will be looking to take him from East London with Liverpool looking for a replacement for retiring Jamie Carragher. Tomkins is very much like John Terry, not scared of 'putting his head where it hurts' and also Tomkins is a superb tackler.
A player that I do expect to be involved is Everton defender, Phil Jagielka. The experienced defender is against having a stormer of a season and he is one of the reasons that Everton are so solid. He has been involved in the England set up before and always appears to do a sound and consistent job.
My England centre back squad selection: John Terry, Phil Jagielka, Michael Dawson and Phil Jones.
Let me know if you agree or who your choices would be