Football FanCast columnist Darren Wells-Burr wonders if Rio Ferdinand should go to the World Cup on this type of form.
The media have quite rightly singled out the performances of Rio Ferdinand and directly questioned whether he should be dropped from his positions of privilege. (Both England and Manchester United centre half.)
It has not gone unnoticed that he has been in the thick of it when Manchester United and England have conceded goals in recent games. He chose not to play the brilliant Torres offside and got knocked to the floor as the Spaniard smashed him and his team to victory. Whilst for England he effectively got Robert Green sent off after being punished for poor positioning and slow reactions.
I have no doubt that an on form Rio Ferdinand would have put in an inspiring slide tackle to avert the imminent danger of Torres. It has to be questioned though whether he has lost his pace, as we know his concentration throughout his career has always been questioned. Does this mean that Ferdinand without his pace is simply not the force he once was?
With John Terry so highly regarded as someone who has without doubt emerged as one of England finest centre half’s without pace being anywhere near his curriculum vitae of key qualities. Can we afford to have two defenders who lack real pace?
The sight of the best teams and their quick strikers like the Torres Villa combo or Anelka Benzema combo send shivers down my spine.
I do hope that the publicising of his media interests in both film and magazine are not something that’s distracting and worrying him more than his below par displays.
Who are the other options, Matthew Upson is certainly one of them. Like his West Ham colleague Robert Green, he has shown he is a steady player who could fill the gap for England should he be called upon. The only question with both Green and Upson would be their lack of Champions league or European football experience
The Spurs pair are without doubt both good enough to step in Rio’s shoes but both are dogged by injury. Despite Woodgate’s undoubted quality, I have always felt that had Ledley King not got clamped by that horror knee injury he would be up there with Terry, Ferdinand and Carragher playing Champions League football, collecting major trophies.
I do not think anyone from the Championship has time to prove themselves and for that reason I think Steven Taylor’s loyalty to the Newcastle faithful may just have counted him out of a chance simply by default. The same may just be the case for Gary Cahill who rightly moved for the chance of regular football and the benefits of that are for all to see. The best chance unfortunately for these two is if they move on to clubs playing in Europe specifically the Champions League. There however really does not seem that much room in the back fours of the top four for either of these two promising young defenders to make their move to the elite.
Two other strong candidates who were as good as anyone last season were the formidable former partnership of Jagielka and Lescott. They have parted ways and despite Everton bringing in cheaper replacements they have yet to fill the void of the excellent pairing.
Lescott has been doubted in the media also but it could just be he is missing his buddy big Phil and that Toure is not as good as he once was.
Jagielka himself put in some excellent displays against Torres when Liverpool played them three times in a very short space of time and was very unlucky against Spain when Villa scored. The reason I choose to compare when defenders have faced Torres is that England have to continually compare themselves to the best, Spain and Brazil. He has without doubt been one of the most improved players in the last two seasons
The final point is that there are worryingly so many of our centre halves struggling for fitness and not playing regularly in Woodgate, King, Jagielka and even Wes Brown.
Could it be worth Mr Capello phoning Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher and begging him to join the ranks just in case?
England alternative Centre Half’s
Aston Villa – Davies
Bolton – Cahill
Chelsea – Terry
Everton – Jagielka, Rodwell
Liverpool – Carragher
Man Utd – Ferdinand, Brown
West Ham – Upson, Davenport, Tomkins
Tottenham – Woodgate, King, Dawson
Burnley – Carlisle
Wigan – Boyce, Bramble
Stoke – Shawcross, Cort, Higginbotham
Hull – Gardner, Dawson
Birmingham – Taylor, Ridgwell, Johnson
Wolves – Stearman, Craddock
Sunderland – Turner, A.Ferdinand, Nosworthy
Man City – Lescott, Richards