Dixon sure Neville is back in the frame
Thursday 29 April 2010
Lee Dixon, the former England and Arsenal defender, believes Manchester United captain Gary Neville could have a role to play at the World Cup.
Right-back Neville won his 85th cap against Spain in February 2007 but has not played for the national team since after being dogged by a series of injuries. But the 35-year-old has featured in the majority of United's matches this year and Dixon, who represented England 22 times at right-back, would not be surprised to see him earn a recall.
He said: "He's definitely in with a chance. Right-back's a problem because of Glen Johnson's injury and also left-back as well. Two or three months ago you'd say no but he's got back in the side, he's played some important games and certainly, from an experience point of view, he'd be invaluable in the dressing room and on the training ground.
"I don't know whether he's in [England coach Fabio] Capello's thoughts but if he was to go then obviously Capello's seen the same sort of things [United boss] Sir Alex Ferguson sees week in, week out. He's a really good pro who's kept his fitness levels up and I don't think he'd let England down, that's for sure."
Defence appears to be Capello's main issue before he names his squad on June 1, with Rio Ferdinand, Johnson and Ashley Cole all having missed large chunks of the season through injury. There are also issues surrounding John Terry after he was stripped of the captaincy following allegations about his personal life. Capello is thought to be considering calling up Tottenham centre-back Ledley King despite his chronic knee problems.
Dixon, though, believes question marks over other defenders could mean the 29-year-old is too much of a gamble. "Ledley would be first on the plane if it wasn't for his knee and I'm sure Capello's looking at him," continued Dixon. "I think he's seriously in contention.
"If everybody else was 100 per cent fit then he might be worth taking a risk on him. But there's big question marks over Rio's niggles and John Terry's in poor form, so it's another risk to take albeit a brilliant centre-back to the World Cup who doesn't train and only plays one in every three games or something. But, having said that, he's played more games this season than Rio Ferdinand."
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