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Roy Hodgson's dismay over loss of John Terry

Thursday, 4 October 2012 - 11:27am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph
England manager seeks solution to defensive issues for World Cup ties against San Marino and Poland.

Roy Hodgson will express his disappointment on Thursday that he has lost the services of John Terry for England's campaign to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Hodgson will also explain why he has called time on Rio Ferdinand's international career.

Aaron Lennon, the Tottenham winger who has started the season so well, will be hoping for a return to the international fold for the first time since the 2010 World Cup but the main focus will be on the centre-backs, those absent and selected, when Hodgson names his 23-man squad to face San Marino and Poland.

Most of the talk will revolve around Terry. Hodgson had supported the centre-half through his recent travails, even going as far to hope he would be "freed" from his Football Association charge of making a racist remark to Anton Ferdinand, the Queens Park Rangers defender. The comment caused consternation among anti-racism organisations and embarrassment at the FA. Terry was cleared in a magistrates' court but found guilty by an Independent Regulatory Committee, banned for four games and fined pounds 220,000.

The written reasons for the tribunal's decision are expected to be released tomorrow. From a position where England had strength, centre-half has now become an issue.

Terry was England's best centre-half at Euro 2012 but has since retired. Hodgson does not believe that Ferdinand, at 33, can realistically compete at the World Cup in 2014. He has been relying on Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill but Lescott has struggled to start regularly for Manchester City and was again on the bench last night.

Hodgson's decision to allow Steven Caulker to play for the under-21s against Serbia means there is a vacancy. Steven Taylor, of Newcastle United, and Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross are in contention.

There will inevitably be focus on whether Hodgson calls up Arsenal's right-back Carl Jenkinson, who also qualifies for Finland.

Lennon's return, chasing a first appearance since facing Algeria in Cape Town in 2010, would be well deserved following his recent good form.

Andy Carroll could also be in the squad, although he has had only 20 minutes' football since suffering a hamstring injury. Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe and Danny Welbeck are Hodgson's other strikers.

Hodgson has spoken to Stuart Pearce throughout the week over the under-21s' need for experience to deal with Serbia in the Euro 2013 play-off. Jack Butland and Jack Rodwell are both in the under-21s, as is Raheem Sterling. The Liverpool teenager was on the bench for last month's senior international against Ukraine but Pearce has persuaded Hodgson that he needs the Liverpool flier for the play-off against Serbia at Carrow Road on October 12 and in Krusevac on October 16.

"For Raheem to have an insight into the senior team is fantastic," said Pearce. "He's been in our development squads and has done extremely well for Liverpool, and credit to Brendan [Rodgers] who has given him his chance. We are pleased to have him.

"Roy and I have had a long conversation, last night being the last time, and he is more than aware of the under-21s' key players.

"What's certain is the players are at the centre of the decisions both Roy and I make. We have to put as strong a squad as possible out," continued Pearce. "We are under no illusion how tough these two games will be for us, so we need to be at our very best."

Along with Sterling, Andros Townsend, of Spurs, and Manchester United's Nick Powell also received first calls for the under-21s.

"Andros Townsend has also done well and has been around Tottenham's first team squad consistently this year,'' added Pearce. "Nick Powell got his move from Crewe to a massive club at United, and has made his first-team bow. He has a really bright future.

"I'm really looking forward to bringing them into the squad to give us a lift. They couldn't come in at a more crucial time."

 


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