Due to the injury to Ledley King and Jamie Carragher’s suspension West Ham’s Matthew Upson is expected to partner John Terry when England meet Slovenia on Wednesday in Port Elizebeth, but does he deserve to play ahead of Michael Dawson who helped Tottenham qualify for the Champions League?
Fabio Capello told the BBC:
“Upson will play because he always played with John Terry and I probably will change some others.”
Granted the Hammers’ defender is more experienced as he has already earned 19 caps for his country, but many argued that he should not have been selected for Capello’s 23-man World Cup squad in the first place.
Upson can’t be held wholeheartedly responsible for playing in a team who has struggled over the past season and were a little fortunate to go stay up. However, his personal form wasn’t exactly what you would expect from him. He did however have a hand in the games during qualification and has not lost a game for England when he has partnered the Chelsea skipper Terry in the Three Lions’ defence.
In comparison Dawson spent much of the season deputising for the likes of King and Jonathan Woodgate who had their individual injury woes.
In the Lilywhites’ side Dawson put in a string of impressive displays with the most notable being late in the season when Spurs defeated London rivals Arsenal and Chelsea at White Hart Lane.
Capello has always insisted he will go for players who play regularly and are on form (Emile Heskey seems exempt from this rule), so with Dawson being the form player he surely should be ahead of Upson…it’s a mystery how the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Gary Cahill got call-ups ahead of him.
But as England have stumbled in their qualification, the disharmony in the camp has become public and Capello’s position under threat perhaps he is fearful of starting an uncapped centre-half in his most important games as England coach. A mistake from Upson would be unlucky, but if Dawson comes in and makes a pig’s ear of it then the media will have their latest scapegoat and it would reflect badly on the manager.
Terry may have been lambasted by the media after publically criticising Capello (who ironically reprimanded him through the media himself), but fans, pundits and experts alike have all questioned the manager’s tactics and regime themselves.
Both Upson and Dawson should have long England careers ahead of them, but I believe the Tottenham man is the better player and should be considered ahead of his West Ham counterpart.
Who would the England fans prefer to see start for England and why?