10 Defenders England Should Consider for the World Cup 2014 Campaign
We are just two months away from the resumption of UEFA World Cup Qualifying.
Currently, England sits in second place in Group H behind surprise group leaders Montenegro.
The Three Lions have six matches left in group play to solidify their place at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
In those matches, manager Roy Hodgson will be looking to find out what players he can trust when the tournament in Brazil comes around next summer.
In defense, the position is in a state of transition with John Terry retiring from international football last season and stalwart Ashley Cole reaching the latter stages of his career.
Hodgson has prepared for the shift in defense by bringing in players from the under-21 ranks and even some experienced English Premier League veterans into the squad.
Here is a list of 10 defenders that will compete for a spot on the England roster going into the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Appearances for England: 99
The next time Ashley Cole puts on an England uniform, he will become the seventh player to appear in 100 matches for the Three Lions.
At 32, Cole has survived plenty of managerial changes at Chelsea to keep his first-team spot at left-back at the club level.
A veteran presence in the England defense will be welcomed after the departure of John Terry from the England back four last year.
Unless something catastrophic happens to Cole, he should easily make the England squad for the rest of the qualifying process and on to the World Cup in Brazil.
Cole should also hold on to his starting position at left-back in front of always improving Leighton Baines.
Appearances for England: 13
Leighton Baines has emerged as one of the best English players in past year.
Baines has been an integral part of Everton's success in the EPL over the past few years and those efforts have been rewarded with a consistent spot in the England squad.
The 28-year-old has started for England in three of their first four qualifying matches, but in the most recent match against Poland, Baines was benched in favor of Ashley Cole.
If Cole were to either retire from the national team scene or pick up a knock during the qualifying process, Baines is a valuable backup to have at the position.
Appearances for England: 0
Danny Rose is the left-back of the future for the English national team.
Rose has impressed many people this season while on loan at Sunderland from Tottenham Hotspur.
Although he has not made an appearance yet for England, he has starred at the youth level and he will surely be a star at Spurs next season when he returns from his loan spell at the Stadium of Light.
If Roy Hodgson wants to take a young left-back through the qualifying process to learn from the likes of Cole and Baines, Rose is the man to occupy that spot in the squad.
Rose's playing time with England could be minimal at best heading into Brazil, but the development process is important at the international level and that time has come for Rose.
Appearances for England: 1
Ryan Shawcross made his debut for the Three Lions against Sweden in a friendly last November.
Shawcross is the anchor of one of the EPL's stingiest defensive units at Stoke City.
The play of the 25-year-old at the club level impressed many people, including Roy Hodgson, who finally called him into the England squad at the end of last year.
With one center-back spot essentially up for grabs at the moment since the retirement of John Terry, Shawcross could get a chance to show off his skills on the international scene in the next year.
Shawcross will have plenty of competition at the position, but if he plays for England like he plays for Stoke, he could cement a spot in Hodgson's starting 11 very soon.
Appearances for England: 16
Phil Jagielka did not earn a spot in the England squad until 2008 at the age of 25.
The Everton defender has also benefited from excellent form at the club level to boost his profile on the international level.
Since the retirement of John Terry, Jagielka has been handed the former England captain's position in the starting 11.
Jagielka has started in the last three qualifying matches for the Three Lions and he should continue to start for England for the duration of World Cup qualifying.
Appearances for England: 24
Joleon Lescott is one of the few players over 30 that has been selected to the England squad since Roy Hodgson took over the manager position.
Lescott partnered with Jagielka in the middle of the England back four against Ukraine and Poland last fall in qualifying.
The one thing going against Lescott at the moment is the play at the club level of Matija Nastasić, who has emerged as a star in the Manchester City defense and is challenging Lescott for his starting spot.
If he loses out to Nastasić at the club level, Lescott may be forced to move away from the defending EPL champions or lose his spot in the England starting 11.
Appearances for England: 13
Gary Cahill has only been in the England fold since 2010, but he has emerged as one of the most consistent English defenders at the moment.
Cahill has received more attention from the national team since his move from Bolton Wanderers to Chelsea in January 2012.
The Chelsea defender has earned one start so far in qualifying, which came against San Marino on October 12.
Cahill will be the biggest challenger to Lescott and Jagielka's starting positions in the England starting 11 going into the rest of qualifying and into the World Cup.
Do not surprised if Roy Hodgson decides to bring Cahill into the lineup over one of the two current starters during the stretch run to qualify for Brazil.
Appearances for England: 1
If you are looking for a wild card to make the England starting 11 in defense, it is Steven Caulker.
Caulker is yet another player on this list who plays for Tottenham and broke into the first-team squad because of a strong loan spell last season.
Caulker played last season at Swansea City and he turned heads with his excellent defending under Brendan Rodgers.
Now under the tutelage of Andre Villas-Boas, Caulker has thrived for the North London club and he was rewarded by Roy Hodgson in November when he made his first start for the Three Lions against Sweden.
Caulker is a long shot to consistently make the England starting 11, but he is a defender to keep an eye on for the future.
Appearances for England: 45
Glen Johnson is currently the first-choice right-back for England.
Johnson plays both full-back positions at the club level for Liverpool, but when it comes to international duty, he is a right-back.
Not only is Johnson a strong defender, but he is also a threat when making runs forward in attack.
Johnson is one of the best crossers of the ball playing in the EPL at the moment, and that skill is something that England fully take advantage of.
Unless he suffers an injury, Johnson will be roaming the pitches of Europe in the kit of the Three Lions at the right-back position for the foreseeable future.
Appearances for England: 4
If something were to happen to Johnson, England has a quality backup at right-back in Kyle Walker.
Walker began to jump on to the England radar with his stellar loan spell at Aston Villa last season.
This season, Walker has been one of Tottenham's most consistent performers.
Walker's recent form helped him gain a spot in the starting 11 against San Marino in qualifying and in the friendly against Sweden in November.
There is no doubt that Walker will be named to the England squad, but what is in question is how much playing time he will actually receive.
Who do you think should be playing in the back four for England?
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