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Dawson assured of key England role
Published : 05 Jun 2010 08:28:00
Michael Dawson has arrived in South Africa with a promise from Fabio Capello that he will be a key member of England's World Cup squad. Less than 24 hours after taking the "crazy" phone call summoning him to South Africa, Dawson jogged onto the training ground at the Royal Bafokeng training complex on Saturday morning to become part of England's World Cup mission. Dawson immediately headed for Capello, who shook him warmly by the hand and gave him a congratulatory pat on the back, with John Terry also extending his congratulations. Dawson then embarked on a couple of laps around the pitch as his team-mates went through their paces in front of him. Matthew Upson and Ledley King however were absent from the main training area. Upson reported a temperature, although any virus is not thought to be serious, and there were no obvious signs of discomfort on Friday night, but Capello is not taking any chances. King was training, although his work was restricted to the gym, as the Tottenham captain tends to do in order to get the most out of his delicate knees. Goalkeeper David James was back in action after missing Friday's session with a minor problem and, once again, Gareth Barry was able to train. Dawson was one of seven players axed from Capello's initial squad of 30, which led to Spurs boss Harry Redknapp launching a strong verbal attack against the Italian. Redknapp claimed Capello had only picked Dawson and West Ham midfielder Scott Parker "to make up the numbers" in his original party and had "no intention" of naming them in his final 23. Dawson did not feature in either of the warm-up internationals with Mexico or Japan. But Capello has refuted Redknapp's claim and is adamant every player originally picked was chosen on merit. Capello said: "I didn't hear when Redknapp said that. For me, all 30 players who stayed with me in Austria are important, really important for me. "For this reason, he (Dawson) was one of the players. I know the value of these players because I chose them. "Matthew Upson didn't play (against Mexico or Japan) but he's out here in the squad. "For me, it was important to find out and learn about all the players as they trained together. "It's not important what other managers think about the players I've chosen. Dawson will be pleased to come here." Dawson, aged 26, impressed at England Under-21 level although he has yet to taste senior action for his country. But he came to the attention of Capello after experiencing an outstanding season at White Hart Lane in helping Spurs claim a Champions League spot. He will now be vying with his club-mate Ledley King, Upson and the versatile Jamie Carragher for a place alongside John Terry. Meanwhile Capello has revealed his intention to rest Gareth Barry against the USA to ensure he is fit for the later stages of the tournament. "We are happy about Barry because he is improving every day," said the Italian. "He spent the morning with the team and then went into the gym with the physio in the afternoon. "I spoke with him yesterday and he is really happy. There is no swelling and his confidence is rising. "But we must go slowly because this is the worst period. "If you go too fast, it is really dangerous. "I would prefer he didn't play against the USA and is fit for the other games."