John Terry
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Terry has to be poked and prodded to be available for World Cup

| 04.02.2014

Little quiz question for you to start, only four outfield players have played every minute of every Premier League game this season, who are they?

A clue for those struggling is that all four are English central defenders, with three not completely without a hope of being included in England’s World Cup squad and the other retired from international football.

Michael Dawson and Steven Caulker are both 8/1 in the World Cup betting to be in the England squad, with Ryan Shawcross priced at 20/1 in the same market.

Dawson has the greater experience and leads the trio in terms of interceptions this season. However, he is fallible when forced to defend high or against opposition with pace and as England may not line up with a natural holding midfielder, an inclusion for the Spurs man is unlikely.

Shawcross and Caulker are not the best passers and maintaining possession will be especially critical at a World Cup where conditions will be hot and humid.

The better news for Caulker is that he has pace, commits fewer fouls and makes the most clearances of the trio and if Hodgson is considering any of these for a squad spot, Caulker would look the best option, while he is also the youngest.

But it does seem like Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are in the box seats to travel as centre-back options, unless Hodgson can manage to convince John Terry to come out of international retirement.

Defending is widely considered to be about partnerships and understanding and Terry and Cahill have been the regular choices for a Chelsea team that are making a habit of shutting out the opposition.

Not only have Chelsea conceded the fewest goals in the top flight, letting in 20 across their 24 games, only two goals have been conceded across their last eight Premier League outings.

Terry would also bring some much-needed tournament experience, although Jagielka and Jones were part of Hodgson’s squad at Euro 2012 and Dawson replaced Rio Ferdinand at the 2010 World Cup.

It is 9/2 that Terry makes England’s World Cup squad and Chelsea teammate Samuel Eto’o not long came out of international retirement himself, to help Cameroon qualify for the World Cup.