The Southampton teenage left-back Luke Shaw is set to be named by Roy Hodgson in the England squad to face Denmark on 5 March, increasing the pressure on Ashley Cole’s place at the World Cup finals.
Shaw, 18, is expected to be named in Hodgson’s 30-man squad for the Denmark friendly when it is announced on 27 February, to give him a chance to claim one of the two left-back places for Brazil this summer. Leighton Baines, having played in the final two World Cup qualifiers is another strong contender, especially given that he is first-choice for his club Everton. Cole has started only two league games for Chelsea since the turn of the year.
Asked about the Southampton trio of full-backs Shaw, Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne, Hodgson indicated yesterday that he was looking at Shaw for next month. I think of the three you have named, Shaw is the obvious one who has been playing last season and has been in the team non-stop since the start of this season,” the England manager said. “Clyne hasn’t played all the games and Chambers is an Under-18 international.”
Neither of his two first-choice full-backs at the start of the campaign are currently playing, with Liverpool’s Glen Johnson injured. Hodgson said: “I would say arguably England has not been as well off for full-back choices today than we have been for a long, long time. In the past we were spoilt for choice for goalkeepers and debates raged over which one should be in the team and which shouldn’t.”
Hodgson said that he had not changed his mind on John Terry and that the Chelsea captain would not be making a return to the England team ahead of the World Cup.
Terry, 33, currently injured, has had an excellent season for Chelsea, being ever-present in the Premier League up until Saturday’s game against Newcastle United. The case for him returning to the England team has been championed by the likes of Gary Lineker, the Match of the Day pundit, especially given Terry’s partnership with Gary Cahill.
Terry announced his retirement from international football in September 2012 and, despite indications that he would be prepared to come back into the fold, there have been no significant moves on either side. Hodgson confirmed that he was not planning on trying to persuade Terry to return, as his predecessor Fabio Capello did successfully with Jamie Carragher before the last World Cup finals.
Hodgson said: “John has retired. As far as I’m concerned that is the situation. We’ve got along without him for the whole of the qualification, and quite a few friendly matches, and we’ll have to get along without him in the future. As far as I’m concerned, retirement is retirement.
“You respect that when players retire. We move on. We moved on after the first qualification game when John Terry limped through [in the Euro 2012 qualifier in Moldova]. Since that time we have got on with it and have chosen the players who are available, who have represented us well in my opinion and so we’ll continue with that.”