England defensive crisis could see Carrick play at centre-back
Roy Hodgson is considering using Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick at centre-back against San Marino, the Daily Mirror has reported, after a combination of injuries, pull-outs and Joleon Lescott’s disciplinary situation greatly reduced the England manager’s options in the centre of defence.
From his originally named party, Hodgson has lost Rio Ferdinand, who withdrew from the squad because of a desire to stick to the fitness programme laid down by his club, Michael Dawson, who was injured playing for Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday, and Gary Cahill, who hurt his knee playing for Chelsea but could be available to play Montenegro next week.
Hodgson was already without Phil Jagielka, who has yet to recover from surgery on a badly-gashed ankle, leaving Chris Smalling as the only defender still available to the manager from his original selection. Lescott, Steven Caulker and Steven Taylor have been called up as replacements.
However, Lescott is one yellow card away from a suspension, meaning a booking against San Marino would rule him out of the Montenegro fixture, while there is concern over Caulker’s inexperience at international level.
Hodgson has previously revealed he would be open to using Carrick as a central defender, a position he has occasionally played for United, with tactical reasons also a contributory factor.
“Michael can always go back there, in a game where you've got more of the ball than the opposition,” Hodgson said ahead of the first game against San Marino, in October.
“Next March, when we play San Marino and Montenegro and where we'll be picking a team to go out there and win, you have to bite the bullet sometimes.”
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