Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

World Cup 2014: England should have brought Chelsea defender John Terry back, says Gary Lineker

The former England captain was worthy of a call-up says the BBC presenter
  • @RobinScottEllio

John Terry would have shored up England's 'lightweight' defence, argues Gary Lineker

Gary Lineker has identified the centre of defence as the weak point of the squad Roy Hodgson will take to Brazil and believes John Terry would have been the ideal man to shore up England's backline.

The former England striker, who has never shied away from criticising Hodgson's side, said England look "lightweight" in central defence. He also has a "concern" over the dearth of holding midfielders capable of shielding the defence.

Lineker, in the latest of his video-blogs for Blahzil.com, accepts that selecting Terry was always a distant option but is unimpressed by the pairing of Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka, and even less so by the alternative of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

"The one place where we look a bit lightweight and certainly haven't got much depth is in the centre of defence," said Lineker. "Gary Cahill has really trained on. I don't think there is any doubt that the best partner for Cahill would have been John Terry but there is too much water under the bridge there.

"[Hodgson] will probably play Jagielka. He has played very little football this year so that in itself is a concern." Last week against Peru was the first England game together since October for Cahill and Jagielka, who was also injured for 11 Everton games at the end of the domestic season.

Jones and Smalling have already had their readiness to play in a World Cup questioned by Roy Keane, and Lineker agreed: "Both have struggled this season at Manchester United. Neither play there [regularly] so there is not really any consistency in that position. It's one area of the team that is a concern."

Lineker also worries over England's holding-midfield options beyond Steven Gerrard. He said: "One thing that will be important for that central defence will be to have good protection in front of it and it is slightly concerning that England don't really have natural holding players."