THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

23 April ~ Quite how being the fourth best centre-back on the field at White Hart Lane on Saturday evening gives John Terry cause to be anything but sheepish is anyone's guess. Then again, attitude is something Terry has in abundance. It is the same attitude that has him mouthing "twice I got the ball" after being sent off against Spurs when twice he didn't get the ball. It also means that when Terry clatters his England teammate James Milner with a horribly late tackle in the FA Cup semi-final, rather than check to see if his international colleague is OK, he is instead right in the referee’s face asking him to explain himself.

Meanwhile, there is Michael Dawson about whom Spurs fans have been waxing lyrical for some time. I was at White Hart Lane for Spurs v Blackburn game a month or so ago and when he wasn't being completely commanding and looking every inch the international centre-back, Dawson was spraying 50-yard passes straight onto Gareth Bale’s left foot. He looked very good indeed.

Dawson’s form hasn't been a flash in the pan either. Imperious for the majority of the season, he was outstanding in the recent games against Arsenal and Chelsea that could define Spurs' season. He was particularly impressive in the latter, snuffing out Didier Drogba – a performance encapsulated by that perfect sliding block tackle in the final ten minutes. The "Dawson for England" lobby has become vocal at a time when many squad members are suffering from either injuries or chronic lack of form. But Dawson deserves his place in the squad on merit. He is strong in the tackle and is very accomplished on the ball. It is a crying shame that due to the dire state of Ledley King’s knees, they will be unable to relinquish their club partnership for the national side.

The notion that Terry and Rio Ferdinand are automatically the first choice pairing seems to be based on flawed logic. "He's committed and brave", say Chelsea fans, "He puts his body on the line". Yes, and he also has a dreadful temperament. He has been undone by pace all season. He is a one-man harassment law case when he gets within five yards of a referee. And although I suppose Algeria fans won't be chanting "John Terry, your mum's a thief" at him in Cape Town, you've still got to worry about him in South Africa against the likes of Messi, Villa, Torres, or indeed any fast, skilful striker. Only one of Dawson and Terry appears to be getting on the plane to South Africa and as time passes it looks increasingly like it will end up being the wrong one. Adam Bushby

Comments (4)
Comment by Peteborota 2010-04-23 13:16:33

Terry's form before the Spurs game looked like he was settling down after the fury of the press with his love life.

Why do you have to worry about him in South Africa, Terry regularly plays against Torres and has played against Messi and Villa and I saw no signs that he failed to cope.

He had a bad game against Spurs definately, but to talk Dawson up on the basis of his performance against Drogba a player suffering from a Hernia and Groin strain in the match is a little generous.

Dawson is a good defender and may find his form gets him onto the play for South Africa, but it has become fashionable to diss Terry. This in a year when he hasn't hit his high standards and yet his team lead the league and are again in the lowest goals against column.

Comment by Lincoln 2010-04-23 14:07:25

Yawn, Terry is a nasty man? That's new. Terry played Champion's league football this season and has been for quite a few years, reaching the final before the famous slip. Terry has been playing for England in a near flawless qualifying campaign. I think you have the solution to a problem that isn't there. I think Dawson is a very good player and could well step up to England level soon, just not now.
I would give the idea more credit if you suggested him going instead of Rio Ferdinand because there are major doubts about his fitness. Suggesting Terry and detailing him shouting at referees (how unique for captain of his club unlike Neville, Gerrard, Keane etc) seems odd. Obviously nothing to do with him playing for a rival of Spurs...

Comment by alyxandr 2010-04-23 17:28:12

"Relinquish": to release, give up, surrender. Perhaps you meant "reprise"? "Replicate"?

Comment by sve791 2010-04-27 08:33:52

It's become fashionable to criticize Terry because his form has been inconsistent all season, mate. Dawson has been in cracking form much of the season. I reckon his referee attacking isn't a problem to be honest, but the attitude he's shown regarding his international team-mates (Bridge and Millner) on those two occasions has been poor. Mind, if Terry performs in the World Cup like the centre-back we all know he can be, you won't hear a bit of complaint out of me. As a United supporter, I wouldn't mind to see him finish off his Premier League run-in with poor form though...

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