Tottenham centre back Michael Dawson has finally been rewarded for his impressive form domestically over the past 12 months with a place in Fabio Capello’s provisional squad of 30 for the upcoming World Cup.
The inclusion of Dawson may come as a surprise to a small minority who believed that with no full international caps under his belt he was an unnecessary risk, but to the majority the only surprise is that it has taken this long for the 26 year old to be given his chance in an England shirt. Dawson has produced a superb level of form throughout the season for Tottenham and alongside Ledley King has formed a formidable partnership in the centre of defence which became the platform on which Tottenham’s exploits this season were built on.
While Dawson’s rivals for the centre half berth come with a variety of fitness concerns, the Tottenham centre back has played out the full ninety minutes in 24 of Tottenham’s last 26 Premier League games. A staggering achievement that proves he possesses the fitness and stability to succeed at a major international tournament, something that Ledley King and Rio Ferdinand, who have suffered with injuries on a regular basis this season, may lack. Although his selection is sure to be welcomed in the Dawson household, he certainly won’t be getting ahead of himself. Having made the final 30 for the World Cup 2006 squad under Sven Goran Eriksson, he missed out on the final 23 and had to be content with a place on the stand by list.
The fact that he has failed to register a single international cap in the four years since must be a major concern and some believe hints that he just falls short of the standard required to succeed in international football. England have two warm up games before the World Cup gets under way, the first against Mexico on the May 24 before facing Japan just six days later. Dawson is fully expected to make his England debut in one of the two friendly matches and his performance is likely to be the deciding factor as to whether he boards the plane to South Africa.
What is certain is that the Tottenham centre half could not have been more impressive in the Premier League this season and if he is one of the seven players that miss the flight to South Africa, it may prove a setback too far for the robust defender.