Writer: Lloyd Reddin
Date:Tuesday September 25 2012
With the stunning news that former England captain John Terry has retired from international football with immediate effect due to his F.A. racism charge case, there is now a vacant position in the heart of the England defence.
There are a few candidates for this vacant position, but in my eyes I can`t see past anyone other than Stoke`s captain Ryan Shawcross.
The 24-year-old central defender has been an integral part of the upturn in Stoke`s fortunes in the past few seasons, which has seen the Potters, secure themselves as an established Premier League side.
Shawcross has a number of other people to fight with for this vacant position in Roy Hodgson`s squad.
Rio Ferdinand still seems to be the most likely player to fill the void, as he has previous international experience and is playing at a top side in Manchester United, but Hodgson has already overlooked the 33-year-old who also doesn`t have age on his side, has personal issues with Ashley Cole, who seems to have a pivotal role in Hodgson`s side and also the fact that Ferdinand isn`t the player he used to be in past years.
In Hodgson`s short reign as England chief, he hasn`t been scared to blood youth and inexperienced players such as Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Tom Cleverly, Ryan Bertrand and Raheem Sterling to name a few, so this could play into the hands of a possible Ryan Shawcross selection, but other players that fit the Shawcross` mould are in contention.
The 20-year-old Steven Caulker, who had an impressive season last year on-loan at Swansea, has now broke into the Tottenham starting line-up, taking advantage of William Gallas and Younes Kaboul`s injuries and fighting off competition from club captain Michael Dawson to grab the starting berth. He must be a serious contender for the vacant position, but unlike Shawcross, he is not first choice and has only had two seasons of Premier League experience. I believe he is not quite ready to represent England, but he is definitely one for the future.
Another candidate has to be West Ham`s James Tomkins who has cemented his spot in the heart of the Hammers` defence. The 23-year-old has age on his side as well and also experience on the biggest stage; the Olympic Games. The centre half partnered Steven Caulker at the back in Stuart Pearce`s squad, but just like Caulker, Tomkin has only a handful of Premier League experience and his time may not be just quite yet.
Having looked at all the candidates, Ryan Shawcross has to have a strong chance of getting the nod in Hodgson`s next squad, the Chester born defender has been consistent for the past few season, along with being ever present in the heart of the Stoke defence, and he isn`t scared of chipping in at the other end of the field having scored 8 Premier League goals since Stoke have been promoted.
The ace that Shawcross has in his deck is the fact that he has been the Stoke captain for several years now, which has gained him invaluable experience and helped him to mature into a modern day professional.
Only time will tell though who Roy Hodgson decides to fill John Terry`s extremely big boots.
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Date:Tuesday September 25 2012
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Stoke host high flying Chelsea (Friday December 6 2013)
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Ref Watch: Moss to officiate Stoke v Chelsea (Friday December 6 2013)
Stats: Stoke City v Cardiff City (Friday December 6 2013)
Blunt Potters held to bore draw (Friday December 6 2013)
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