England face Brazil in an international friendly on Wednesday to mark the 150th anniversary of The FA. In what is being earmarked as a prestige friendly England will have to be on top form to topple a Brazil side containing the attacking talents of Fred, Luis Fabiano, Hulk and the elusive Neymar.
So that begs the question; who should start at centre back for Roy Hodgson at Wembley?
Since the retirement of John Terry and now assured exile of Rio Ferdinand England have lost two of their most experienced central defenders and so far the pretenders have failed to produce. Both Steven Caulker and Ryan Shawcross were given run-outs against Sweden but failed to deal with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a way necessary at this level. In their defence neither did Gary Cahill whose recent form has me baffled as to whether he is at all good enough to play at this level. He has performed woefully for Chelsea recently and while his mistakes are not easily identifiable he should not be rewarded for such form with a start.
Then there is Joleon Lescott; who has barely touched the fringes of the Manchester City first-team this season after the emergence of Matija Nastasic. A recent injury to Vincent Kompany has seen him get some game-time but generally speaking this has not been a season to remember for Lescott so far.
It leaves Phil Jagielka as the only regular and in-form centre back in the England team presently leaving Hodgson scratching his head about who to play. Lescott and Jagielka remains the obvious choice in my mind as the two have an excellent working history but I imagine that Cahill will continue to play as he pulls an illusion on us all with his ‘talents’ furthermore.
For me I cannot understand how Michael Dawson has not earned himself a recall. He has been magnificent in his attitude since turning down a move to QPR and has since emerged as starting centre back and captain under Andre Villas Boas in a so far successful campaign.
So who do you think should start at centre back against Brazil?
image: © Ben Sutherland