Tottenham defender Michael Dawson has come into form at exactly the right time for England and has increased his chances to be on the plane for South Africa after a string of impressive displays for his club.
Fabio Capello faces a bit of a defensive headache ahead of this summer’s World Cup as many of his stars are suffering with injuries or a lack of form, but he must have been impressed with Dawson’s displays after Spurs put themselves in the driving seat for the fourth Champions League spot after scalping both Arsenal and Chelsea in their two London derbies last week. Capello or his general manager Franco Baldini will have their eyes firmly fixed upon Dawson as Tottenham take on Manchester United at Old Trafford this coming weekend.
The England boss must be concerned about his defensive options with former captain John Terry suffereing a significant dip in form. Terry, 29, appeared to be back to his old self after impressive displays at Old Trafford and against Aston Villa in both the league and FA Cup, but he was hardly convincing against Bolton and got himself carelessly sent off against Tottenham on Saturday. Perhaps even more worryingly, Capello’s new captain Rio Ferdinand, has suffered all season with injury and when he has played he has looked far from peak form or fitness.
Capello faces a few tough decisions about his defenders as Wes Brown, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill, Ryan Shawcross and Ashley Cole are all injured or just returning to match fitness following injury layoffs. Ledley King is another option, but suffers chronic knee pain which makes him unable to play more than one game a week. But Dawson has made the step up this season in King’s shoes and has had a successful time when he has taken his armband. Capello and England will hope that he continues his rich form and makes the Three Lions’ boss decision easy and pick him for the World Cup.
The 26-year-old centre-back’s club manager, Harry Redknapp, believes that Dawson has the pedigree to make it at international level and insists that he has much more to offer than his defensive abilities: “Dawson is a fantastic lad and a great centre-half. He’s an old-fashioned type of player and very committed. But he is also a great passer of the ball. He’s a competitor, a player who gives everything.”
It is now expected that Dawson will at least be named in the provisional 30-man squad, which is to be announced on May 16.