Tag Archives: forthcoming

We can upset champions Manchester City, insists Paul Lambert

We can cause upset at champions City, says Lambert despite growing relegation fears

By
John Curtis, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

14:55 GMT, 3 March 2013

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UPDATED:

14:58 GMT, 3 March 2013

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists he is focused on trying to plot an upset against Manchester City tomorrow evening rather than forthcoming games with fellow strugglers Reading and QPR.

Lambert knows the significance of the Barclays Premier League double-header which will follow on from the meeting with Roberto Mancini's side with Villa in the bottom three.

But he has taken enough encouragement from Villa's performances in recent weeks – including last weekend's 2-1 defeat at Arsenal – to believe they can at least compete against the champions.

Progress: Aston Villa's Chief financial officer Robin Russell is happy that manager Paul Lambert is building a youthful first-team squad

Praise: Lambert is pleased to see Villa keeping faith in him despite the relegation battle

He said: 'I felt there were signs of encouragement against Arsenal but then I've felt that for a few weeks without getting the results.

'That's the frustrating thing, when you play well and don't get results especially the games at Everton, West Brom and Swansea.

'When you have a two-goal lead at Everton and West Brom and you don't see it through, or concede a late equaliser as was the case at Swansea, it's frustrating.

'If you had taken maximum points from those games, then you'd be sitting mid-table and, against Arsenal, we should have had at least a point.'

Lambert added: 'People are asking about the Reading and QPR games and I say to them, 'so there's no point in playing Manchester City then'

'I don't view it that way. We may as well just give it to them if we think like that. We want to beat Manchester City.

Disappointment: Villa's players trudge off after their 2-1 defeat at Arsenal on Saturday

Disappointment: Villa's players trudge off after their 2-1 defeat at Arsenal last week

'You are there to win, regardless of whether it is City or QPR or whoever. We have to try and win. We are a threat going forward. We are not going into it just to draw or anything like that.

Villa won 4-2 at City in the Capital One Cup and Lambert felt their opponents were flattered by the 5-0 scoreline in the league meeting after a contentious penalty award.

He said: 'To go up there and beat them at any time, which we did in the Capital One Cup this season, is a hell of a result because of the players they have got.

'We also felt hard done by with the penalty they got against us in the league game when we were only losing 1-0 and in the game.

'It was never a penalty and a farce and there for everyone to see. That penalty incident at the Etihad will stick in the players' minds.

'Yes, We know how hard it is going to be. They are still a top side. They've just turned Chelsea over. They have some great players and are a top side.

Ready for action: Villa players in training earlier this week ahead of Monday's game

Ready for action: Villa players in training earlier this week ahead of Monday's game

'But I don't think we go into any game frightened of anyone. We have to take the challenge on.'

Villa are only one goal away from reaching the 1,000 mark in the Premier League.

But Lambert said: 'It will be only nice to reach that milestone if we win.

'Only if we win, does that statistic become relevant.

'There are 33 points available still and that's a hell of a lot of points to play for.

'I've said before it's going to be one hell of a ride to the end of the season, that's for sure. Never a dull moment, never is.'

Villa skipper and central defender Ron Vlaar is battling to overcome the calf injury, which forced him out of the Arsenal game.

Striker Darren Bent remains doubtful with a foot injury but keeper Shay Given has recovered from a groin problem in time to be part of the squad against his former club.

Mario Balotelli tribunal off as striker agrees to pay 340k fine

Balotelli backs down over 340k fine! Tribunal called off as striker agrees to pay Manchester City

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UPDATED:

12:39 GMT, 19 December 2012

Mario Balotelli has shown signs of maturity for the first time in months as he decided not to face Manchester City at a Premier League tribunal.

City were due to meet with their errant striker at a Premier League showdown today (Wednesday) after he contested a fine of two weeks' wages – 340,000 – imposed for accumulating too many red and yellow cards last season.

Absent: Mario Balotelli missed Manchester City training on Tuesday with a virus

Absent: Mario Balotelli missed Manchester City training on Tuesday with a virus

However, after talks between Balotelli’s lawyers and the league champions late last night and this morning, the 22-year-old agreed to drop the action and pay the fine.

A City statement – released just after midday – said: 'After amicable talks between the parties, as a sign of respect for Roberto Mancini, the supporters and the club, Mario Balotelli has chosen to accept a two-week fine levied upon him by the club and withdraw his disciplinary appeal, which was due to be heard by a Premier League panel today.

Why always him Balotelli landed in trouble over his poor discipline last season

Why always him Balotelli landed in trouble over his poor discipline last season

'Mario remains available for selection for all forthcoming fixtures.'

City imposed the fine at the end of last season after working out that Balotelli had missed 20 per cent of his team’s games through suspension.

However, Balotelli was informed by his legal team that there is no provision in guidelines drawn up by the Premier League and the PFA Players’ Union for that kind of fine.

He originally appealed to an internal panel at City and, after losing that, chose to take his case to the Premier League.

Balotelli missed training on Tuesday after being sent home with a virus. He will not be involved when City face Reading at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as manager Mancini does not think he is fit enough.

Rocky relations: Roberto Mancini left Balotelli out of the squad that travelled to Newcastle on Saturday and made him take on extra training at the club's base

Rocky relations: Roberto Mancini left Balotelli out of the squad that travelled to Newcastle on Saturday and made him take on extra training at the club's base

Sky won"t send presenters to India after refusing to meet pay demands

Sky snub India demands: No presenters or commentators will be sent to England tour

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UPDATED:

23:41 GMT, 30 October 2012

Sky will not send any presenters or production staff to India for England’s forthcoming tour after refusing to meet the financial demands from the country’s cricket board.

The broadcasters are instead preparing a studio in west London from which to cover the four-Test series. It will be the first time in 20 years that television viewers do not receive British coverage of an overseas England tour from inside the grounds.

No go: Sky's presenters and commentators including Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain

No go: Sky's presenters and commentators including Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain

Staying at home: Michael Atherton will not be in India after Sky decided not to meet India's demands

Staying at home: Michael Atherton will not be in India after Sky decided not to meet India's demands

The move comes after the Indian cricket board (BCCI) wanted to charge 500,000 for what it labelled ‘realistic’ facility costs.

But Sky always felt they had already paid for these as part of their rights package and have declined to hand over the extra money.

It means presenters, including Sportsmail’s Nasser Hussain, Sir Ian Botham and Mike Atherton, will watch pictures from host broadcaster Star TV in Isleworth, rather than Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Nagpur and Kolkata and their words will be grafted over the top.

Kevin Pietersen included in England squad for India tour

He's back! Pietersen included in England squad for tour of India

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UPDATED:

14:47 GMT, 18 October 2012

Kevin Pietersen has been added to England's squad for the forthcoming tour of India.

The batsman was initially overlooked as the controversy over his exclusion from the side earlier in the summer continued.

Pietersen was dropped for the third Test against South Africa in August amid allegations he sent text messages to opposing players criticising his then captain Andrew Strauss.

In the squad: Kevin Pietersen is in the England squad for the tour of India

In the squad: Kevin Pietersen is in the England squad for the tour of India

The 32-year-old apologised for sending the messages earlier this month and signed a new ECB central contract after agreeing to enter a 'reintegration' process with the team.

Having now met with team director Andy Flower, new Test captain Alastair Cook and other senior players to discuss the matter, the governing body are now happy to confirm his return.

The ECB's managing director for England cricket, Hugh Morris, said: “We were keen that Kevin should hold a series of face-to-face meetings with team management and senior players before the Test squad departs for the UAE and India next week.

T20 star: Pietersen has been playing for the Daredevils in South Africa

T20 star: Pietersen has been playing for the Daredevils in South Africa

'The meetings were constructive and cordial and all outstanding issues have been resolved.

'All the England players and management are now keen to draw a line under this matter and fully focus on the cricketing challenge that lies ahead in India.'

Reintegration: Pietersen has held peace talks with his England team-mates

Reintegration: Pietersen has held peace talks with his England team-mates

England are due to play four Tests in India in November and December.
Pietersen will be added to a 16-man squad which includes uncapped batsmen Joe Root and Nick Compton.

ECB national selector Geoff Miller said: 'We are pleased to welcome a player of Kevin's proven international calibre back into the Test squad for such an important Test series.

'As we anticipate that Ian Bell will return home for the birth of his first child around the time of the second Test in Mumbai, the team will benefit from having an extra batsman in the squad and all players who were originally selected for the tour will fly out as planned next week.

'Kevin will join up with the squad as soon as his Champions League commitments are complete.'

Having returned to the UK earlier this week, Pietersen has now travelled back to South Africa to resume his Champions League duties with Delhi Daredevils.

KEVIN PIETERSEN TIMELINE

Kevin Pietersen has returned to the England squad after publicly apologising for his controversial behaviour and agreeing a new central contract. Here, Sportsmail recaps what has been a tumultuous summer for Pietersen with, and without, England.

May 23 – Pietersen is fined by the ECB for a Twitter outburst against Sky commentator Nick Knight. The batsman wrote: “Can somebody please tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box for the Tests Ridiculous.”

May 31 – Retires from one-day internationals, with ECB contract rules meaning he must also take his leave of the Twenty20 format. His statement stresses: 'For the record, were the selection criteria not in place, I would have readily played for England in the upcoming ICC World Twenty20.'

July 9 – Admits he still harbours hope of playing limited-overs cricket for England again. Asked if he could eventually reconsider his retirement, Pietersen says “never say never” but adds: “The schedule would have to be a hell of a lot different for me to come back. Wait and see.'

July 13 – Reveals he would “love to play for another three or four years in all forms of cricket” and, asked if talks are in progress with the ECB, intriguingly replies: “I think so.”

August 6 – After scoring 149 in the first innings of the second Test against South Africa, casts doubt on his Test future, claiming “obstacles” must be overcome in order for him to continue beyond the third Test at Lord's and adding: “It's tough being me playing for England.”

August 11 – Pietersen says he 'wants to commit to all forms of cricket for England' in a video posted on YouTube. He adds: 'I've had a change of heart because I love playing cricket for England, I love being part of a successful England team. It would be sad for me to finish with the way things have been running through the media in the last three or four days.'

August 12 – Left out for the third Test against South Africa but insists: “None of this constitutes the end of my career as an international cricketer.”

August 15 – The ECB confirm they have received an apology from Pietersen and an admission he sent “provocative” BBM messages to members of the South African team. Pietersen says: “I truly didn't mean to cause upset or tension, particularly with important games at stake.”

August 21 – Pietersen is left out of England squads for the limited-overs series against South Africa and September's World Twenty20 and team director Andy Flower seeks details of the texts sent to Proteas players.

September 7 – The ECB announce 10 centrally contracted players for the 2012-13 season which does not include Pietersen. The accompanying statement reveals: 'In respect to Kevin Pietersen, discussions are ongoing – and they remain private.'

September 18 – Pietersen is left out of the Test squad to tour India after much speculation about his potential selection. A statement released by his management company reads: 'Kevin Pietersen is naturally disappointed about today's decision, having gone to great lengths to reach a reconciliation with the ECB.'

October 2 – Flower reveals he is expecting a positive resolution 'in the next 36 hours' following extensive talks between Pietersen and the ECB.

October 3 – Pietersen signs a new central contract with a view to rejoining the England set-up for the remainder of 2012. The BBM messages issue is also put to bed with Pietersen apologising to Andrew Strauss for 'the impact the recent controversies have had on the England team'.

October 18 – Added to England's squad for the forthcoming tour of India, after talks described by the ECB as 'constructive and cordial'.

Republic of Ireland cannot afford to sack Giovanni Trapattoni

Trapattoni to remain as Ireland boss… only because FAI can't afford to give him the boot

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UPDATED:

12:32 GMT, 14 October 2012

Giovanni Trapattoni will remain in his 1.5million-a-year post as Republic of Ireland boss, if only because the FAI cannot afford to sack him.

Fortunes have faded rapidly for the 73-year-old Italian who became a national hero for leading the team to their first international tournament in 10 years at this summer's Euros.

But the performances in Poland and Ukraine have been compounded by a woeful start to the World Cup 2014 qualifiers, which culminated in the embarrassing 6-1 reversal to Germany.

Made man: The Irish FA would have to stump up 3m to shift the Italian

Made man: The Irish FA would have to stump up 3m to shift the Italian

The 8m earned from Euro 2012 qualification was spent on bonuses and other outgoings connected to the tournament, which makes the 3m to fire Trapattoni an undesirable proposition, according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph.

The Republic are by no means out of it, but forthcoming fixtures against Sweden and Austria are likely to define whether they travel to Brazil or not.

'It’s a long way to Tipperary,' Trapattoni said. 'Germany have gone, they will qualify as group winners, but we are in there fighting with Austria and Sweden for qualification.

'The players have to answer us and I am sure that they can. We need to see their commitment in a very important situation here.'

No control: Trapattoni's side were thrashed at home by Germany

No control: Trapattoni's side were thrashed at home by Germany

And Stoke City striker Jon Walters admits that the manager is not the only man under pressure.

'After a performance like that (against Germany), there are young and hungry lads on the bench and outside the squad who want to be part of the Irish international scene and they’ll be wanting places now,' he said.

'I think everyone’s future is in doubt, I think every single place on the team is up for grabs. It wasn’t good enough. The manager didn’t have to say much when we came in, everyone felt it, everyone was hurting.

'We were chasing shadows for a long time, it has to be said, and we couldn’t get near them.

'They are up there with the best teams I’ve ever played, with the top of the Premier League, where players come from all over the world, this was the best of one country.

'They were so far ahead of us, truthfully we couldn't get near them. They always had that extra pass on, that extra man available.'

Rio Ferdinand hailed by Manchester United stars

Are you watching, Roy United stars hail Ferdinand performance in win at Newcastle

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UPDATED:

15:11 GMT, 8 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand may be surplus to requirements for Roy Hodgson, but his Manchester United team-mates are thankful to have him around.

Again left out of the England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, Ferdinand was on the right track in Newcastle on Sunday.

The 33-year-old showed all the old poise to stroll through a 3-0 win over Alan Pardew's men that kept United in touch with early Barclays Premier League pace-setters Chelsea.

Afforded more protection by United's new diamond formation than he got the previous weekend against Tottenham's speedsters, Ferdinand showed he remains a class act.

Case for the defence: Ferdinand impressed for United on Sunday

Case for the defence: Ferdinand impressed for United on Sunday

Not that the United dressing room ever felt otherwise.

'Rio is quality,' said defensive colleague Jonny Evans.

'He is so experienced. He cruises through games.

'He comes off at the end and there is not a bit of sweat on him. It looks like could play on and on.'

That is the style Ferdinand adopts when he is at his best.

It is the reason why there were calls for him to be recalled by Hodgson for the forthcoming games with San Marino and Poland.

Sir Alex Ferguson is doubtless glad Hodgson has chosen a different route given the delicate nature of his defensive resources, even when Chris Smalling gets ready to return from his broken metatarsal after the international break.

Nevertheless, the defence of Hodgson's position, if not by him then by others who share the same opinion, has brought criticism Tom Cleverley cannot fathom.

Back to winning ways: United put their defeat to Tottenham behind them

Back to winning ways: United put their defeat to Tottenham behind them

'Rio has had one bad game in six months,' said the midfielder, who scored United's brilliant third, even if his manager insists he did not mean in.

'We have conceded a few goals and made a few silly mistakes this season.

'But I couldn't believe some of the stuff I have read about Rio in midweek.

'He has definitely not deserved that.'

Repelling the threat of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse should provide a welcome confidence boost for United after their disastrous attempts to subdue Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon during that damaging home defeat by Tottenham eight days previously.

The ease with which Spurs cut straight down the middle of United's midfield at Old Trafford prompted a tactical rethink from Sir Alex Ferguson that involved Wayne Rooney adopting a deep-lying midfield role.

And it seems to be working, even if Ferguson accepts there are issues that have to be taken into account.

'The diamond closes off the midfield,' he said.

New role: Rooney was asked to play deeper by Ferguson

New role: Rooney was asked to play deeper by Ferguson

'Your only problem is when the ball goes out wide because you need to be aware of how far your midfield gets separated.

'But if you try to keep the tightness in midfield, the opposition has to go wide.'

Even at this early stage of the season, it was a big win for United.

Going into the game seven points behind Chelsea, whom they visit on October 28, they knew anything other than a victory would put them in trouble.

'Seven points is a big gap and if we had dropped more points it would have been a big task,' said Evans.

'Although it is still early on in the season, you don't want to give a team that kind of advantage.'

There was an additional piece of good news for United today with striker Robin van Persie not facing any sanction for his second-half clash with Yohan Cabaye during Sunday's game.

Referee Howard Webb reviewed the incident again this morning after initially missing it and decided it was not worthy of a straight red card.

Andy Carroll eyes Arsenal start after West Ham return

Now bring on Arsenal! Fit-again Carroll raring to go after returning for West Ham

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UPDATED:

10:22 GMT, 2 October 2012

Andy Carroll is eyeing a starting role against Arsenal this weekend after making his comeback for West Ham earlier than expected.

The England international returned from a month-long hamstring injury lay-off as a 72nd minute substitute in Monday's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory at QPR in front of Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson.

The 23-year-old is now expected to be named in Hodgson's squad on Thursday for the forthcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against San Marino and Poland – but it is this Saturday's London derby at Upton Park he has sights on first.

Raring to go: Andy Carroll is pleased to be back on the pitch after a month-long injury lay-off

Raring to go: Andy Carroll is pleased to be back on the pitch after a month-long injury lay-off

'Since the Fulham game I have been dying to get back,' said the on-loan Liverpool forward said, speaking to the Hammers' official website.

'I've been working hard in the gym and the staff here have helped me to get back fit and obviously coming on at QPR and helping the lads to get the win was great. It was hard.

'I was devastated when I got injured but I've worked hard and I've been the gym every day. I've only been out on the training pitch a handful of times since so it was great to be out there at Loftus Road playing football again.'

Goals from Matt Jarvis and birthday boy Ricardo Vaz Te gave Sam Allardyce's side their first away win of the season and Carroll believes they can build on their hard-fought win.

Smiles better: Carroll celebrates West Ham's win over QPR with team-mate Mark Noble

Good to be back: Carroll thanks the Hammers fans for their support after making his return

Good to be back: Carroll, who celebrated the win over QPR with Mark Noble (L) thanks the Hammers fans for their support after making his return

'We've obviously been playing really well and we proved that on Monday. We had quite a few chances but we didn't put them all away.

'We've been playing well and I think all the lads are looking forward to Arsenal on Saturday.'

The Newcastle native, meanwhile, admitted he is enjoying life living in the capital and has quickly settled in at West Ham.

He said: 'It's completely different. It's a huge city! I'm really enjoying it. It's completely different but I like it.'

Andy Carroll returns against QPR, says West Ham boss Sam Allardyce

Carroll set for comeback as Allardyce confirms Hammers striker WILL play at QPR

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UPDATED:

12:26 GMT, 1 October 2012

Return: Andy Carroll is set to play against QPR

Return: Andy Carroll is set to play against QPR

Andy Carroll is set to make his comeback from injury against QPR after West Ham boss Sam Allardyce confirmed the striker will play at Loftus Road.

The England international – on loan at the Hammers from Liverpool – has been sidelined with a hamstring problem for four weeks after suffering the injury on his Upton Park debut last month.

But the 23-year-old has made a quicker recovery than expected and is certain to give Allardyce's side a welcome boost ahead of their London derby against struggling QPR.

Allardyce told talkSPORT radio on Monday morning that the striker is back in his plans and will feature.

'He’s going to be back tonight,' said Allardyce, speaking to Richard Keys and Andy Gray

Carroll enjoyed an outstanding debut, playing a key role in West Ham's 3-0 victory over Fulham before being forced off in the second half.

One interested observer will be England manager Roy Hodgson, who names his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland on Thursday.

Rio Ferdinand faces fresh England snub for San Marino and Poland qualifiers

The end for Rio England boss Hodgson to snub Ferdinand AGAIN despite Terry void

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UPDATED:

08:49 GMT, 1 October 2012

Rio Ferdinand is set to abandon his dream of playing for England with manager Roy Hodgson set to snub the Manchester United defender again.

The 33-year-old had hoped the international retirement of John Terry – who was banned by the FA last week for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand – would pave the way for his return.

However it is understood Hodgson will deliver the latest blow for Ferdinand by overlooking him for England's forthcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against San Marino and Poland when he names his squad on Thursday.

End of the road: Rio Ferdinand looks set to be snubbed by England manager Roy Hodgson again

End of the road: Rio Ferdinand looks set to be snubbed by England manager Roy Hodgson again

Plenty to ponder: England boss Hodgson watched Man United's 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford alongside Gary Neville

Plenty to ponder: England boss Hodgson watched Man United's 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford alongside Gary Neville

Hodgson watched from the stands as Ferdinand and his United team-mates suffered an evening to forget at Old Trafford on Saturday when they lost 3-2 at home to Spurs.

But prior to the weekend defeat, Ferdinand had deservedly won plaudits for his performances so far this season with many believing he had put himself back in the reckoning for an international recall.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson urged Ferdinand to call time on his England career on Saturday despite the vacancy left by Chelsea captain Terry.

Vacancy: Chelsea captain John terry has retired from international football

Vacancy: Chelsea captain John terry has retired from international football

Ferdinand was first overlooked by Hodgson for Euro 2012 with the England boss citing 'footballing reasons' for his omission.

The former West Ham and Leeds star refused to give up hope of playing for the Three Lions again, insisting he was ready and available should Hodgson reconsider him for selection.

But Ferguson believes Ferdinand should now focus on his future at Old Trafford, where his contract comes to an end this summer.

'He could do the job, I have no doubt about that, but I don't see why he should.

'He should concentrate on his career here. It's his decision.'

United stand: Sir Alex Ferguson wants Ferdinand to focus on his future at Old Trafford

United stand: Sir Alex Ferguson wants Ferdinand to focus on his future at Old Trafford

John Terry: Who should play in defence for England?

Big debate: With Terry retired, who should play in defence for England

PUBLISHED:

09:48 GMT, 28 September 2012

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 28 September 2012

With John Terry out of the England picture after retiring from international future, manager Roy Hodgson has a selection headache in defence.

He must decide who should play at centre back for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers and here, Sportsmail's writers give their verdicts.

Ugo Ehiogu

RIO FERDINAND and GARY CAHILL

For now and to get us through qualification, I would go with Gary Cahill and Rio Ferdinand. Gary’s game has improved immensely over the past 12 months and he is also a real goal threat. Rio would be a great partner for him, using all his experience and presence to help him.

Time to return Rio Ferdinand (centre) is back in the England reckoning

Time to return Rio Ferdinand (centre) is back in the England reckoning

'I would then look at Steven Caulker as a deputy to come in for Rio, as I feel he has learnt his trade now and he has a really promising future ahead of him. His style of play is almost a cross between Rio and John Terry.'

Peter Wilson, Double Trap shooting Olympic gold medal winner

STEVEN CAULKER and GARY CAHILL

The player that I would most like to see step up to replace John Terry now there is one less centre back for England is Steven Caulker. I’ve seen him play over the last 18 months – on loan at Swansea last season and now being given a chance at Tottenham – and I have not seen a more talented ball-playing centre back.

Caulker can play from the back, track back and rarely loses an arial challenge. If he played alongside Gary Cahill the national team would have a young centre back pairing that could play together for many years and many major tournaments. Whilst Roy is at it he needs to give Gary Hooper at Celtic a chance as well!

Solid: Gary Cahill looks set to become a mainstay in the England side

Solid: Gary Cahill looks set to become a mainstay in the England side

Matt Lawton

RIO FERDINAND and JOLEON LESCOTT

Against San Marino and Poland, Rio Ferdinand and Joleon Lescott. In the longer term I’d like to see Phil Jones emerge but the Ukraine game exposed a need for Ferdinand’s passing ability and composure in Warsaw.

Matt Barlow

JOLEON LESCOTT and PHIL JAGIELKA

Despite Lescott’s indifferent start to the season, this seems the logical short-term option. They have a balance and understanding and enough quality to cope with this qualifying group. England’s defensive vulnerability against Ukraine last month was not simply down to the centre-halves. In the longer-term, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones (both currently injured) appeals.

Leader: Manchester City's Joleon Lescott (centre) is another option

Leader: Manchester City's Joleon Lescott (centre) is another option

Neil Ashton

STEVEN CAULKER and GARY CAHILL

Andre Villas-Boas is missing a trick and so is Roy Hodgson. Caulker is the outstanding talent of his generation and should be showcasing his exceptional reading of the game in a Tottenham shirt every week. He should already be an automatic choice for his club and Hodgson must use Terry’s international retirement to covet Caulker.

Cahill is a decent defender, although he will never be in John Terry’s class. He has medals and the experience of playing in high-intensity matches and is fractionally a better defender than Joleon Lescott.

Dominic King

PHIL JAGIELKA and JOLEON LESCOTT

It would make sense for Roy Hodgson to go with players who know each others’ game inside out and Everton’s Jagielka and Manchester City’s Lescott certainly struck up an impressive rapport when they were together at Goodison Park.

In form: Phil Jagielka (left) has impressed for Everton

In form: Phil Jagielka (left) has impressed for Everton

They are both better players now, have significant international experience. The right-foot/left foot combination is perfect balance and they could provide the foundations during the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign.

Neil Moxley

JOLEON LESCOTT and PHIL JAGIELKA

First, losing John Terry is a huge blow. There isn’t anyone up to his standard. Whatever you think about the racism affair, you cannot dispute the fact that he is a top-class performer. There’s no like-for-like replacement. It’s a massive problem for Roy Hodgson.

If Gary Cahill was playing, I’d pick him as he has pace and is a better passer than Phil Jagielka or Joleon Lescott. But he’s not being chosen for Chelsea on a regular basis.

I actually think Phil Jones will end up at centre-half. But that doesn’t help us in the here and now. I would also recall Rio Ferdinand, to add a touch of gravitas and know-how.

One to watch: Steven Caulker (left) is a bright prospect

One to watch: Steven Caulker (left) is a bright prospect

If that’s a non-starter in Hodgson’s mind, then you have to look at Jagielka and Lescott – but the latter was not chosen to play against Real Madrid last week, overlooked for Serbia international Matija Nastasic in the Bernebeu. It highlights Hodgson’s dilemma.

So, I’d choose Jagielka and Lescott as they are both playing regularly, to be reviewed if Cahill was a regular starter for Chelsea. But the choice is far from clear-cut.