Michael Dawson Deserves England Chance and Why Euro 2016 Should Be the Focus

Glenn HoddleFeatured ColumnistNovember 17, 2013


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England manager Roy Hodgson should consider calling up Tottenham skipper Michael Dawson, to inject pace into his suspect central defence.

Phil Jones is out of the prestigious friendly with Germany at Wembley on Tuesday night—with a groin injury picked up against Chile—but Hodgson still hasn't called Andre Villa-Boas to ask for Dawson. Why not? I say he’s worth a go.

Jones and Gary Cahill did not look comfortable against Chile, and that worried me. But I have been concerned about England's defence for some time.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Gary Cahill of England in action during the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Spurs have one of the best defensive records in the Premier League this season and Dawson has been outstanding. He's not only in the best form of his career, but also playing in a rock-solid Spurs defence, so I don’t understand why he is not being considered a possible centre-back for England's World Cup team.

I am not saying he is the best English defender, but I do think he could improve what we have and he is worth looking at.

England just don't have the quality of defenders you need at a World Cup, and they really lack a player with blinding pace back there.

One solution is to protect the centre-backs with holding midfield players. Screening will work, but if England want to try a more open type of football, they will naturally be left more vulnerable at the back.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  England d manager Roy Hodgson and his counterpart Jorge Sampaoli of Chile watch from the sidelines during the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013 in London, England
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Germany and beyond

Hodgson experimented against Chile, but he'll go back to selecting the strongest team available for Germany.

Germany are a team I'd give a 30 percent chance of winning the World Cup next summer. What chance England? Well, I am sticking to a realistic 5-7 percent.

I am not jumping on the bandwagon and being critical of England because of the Chile defeat—that’s just a realistic view. We need to control the expectancy levels when it comes to England's chances in the World Cup.

After the Poland win I was roundly criticised for suggesting England had only a five percent chance of winning in Brazil next summer. In the light of the sobering defeat by Chile at Wembley on Thursday night, there are many who would now agree with me.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 15:  Jean Beausejour of Chile is watched by Fraser Forster of England during the international friendly match between England and Chile at Wembley Stadium on November 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

For England to win we would need a lot of luck, and a lot of decisions going our way. Anything can happen in a tournament, but I have always said it is virtually impossible for a European team to win it in South America.

That's why we should use this tournament to blood even more youngsters—to give some of the established youngsters more tournament experience, and use it to develop players for Euro 20126, where I think England have a realistic chance of winning a major trophy for the first time since 1966.

Games like the Chile defeat are not ones to which you should be making any judgement calls on—it was about experimenting with individuals, looking at players like Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriquez and trying different combinations. There are not a lot of opportunities to do between here and the Finals.

So I am not getting too carried away with the result, and I wouldn’t get carried away if England beat Germany either—even though it would be a huge boost to their confidence. Equally it won’t be a disaster if we lost to Germany.

The reality is that England scrapped through their qualifying group against moderate opposition. They made it tough for themselves, but they are going to the World Cup. Of course the players will want to win the tournament, but the big picture is building a foundation for Euro 2016.



*Zapsportz.com is an exciting new website where Glenn Hoddle reveals how kids from all over the world can enter the X-Factor-style Zapstarz, the former England manager's search for a new generation of footballing talent.