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