Blogs & Opinion


Jamie Redknapp:

Most Popular Posts:

Recent Comments:

Stuart Mcdermott on The thin blue line

"Jamie, superb article as always! I have to say that, as always, you're spot on. Arsenal have no momentum going into the last 5 games and i can't see them getting the results they ... " View all comments

Opinion Archive:

Rio Ferdinand may not get England call again, says Jamie Redknapp

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 21st March 2013 view comments

As someone who got badly injured playing for England I can fully understand Rio Ferdinand not wanting to take any chances with his back problem.

But, given the manner in which he pulled out of the squad after being called up, I can't see how Roy Hodgson can select him again.

I'm a big fan of Ferdinand and was recently calling for him to be recalled to the national team set-up. When it was announced Hodgson was going to select him for this round of World Cup qualifiers I was delighted.

Rio: Pulled out of England squad with concerns about his back injury

Rio: Pulled out of England squad with concerns about his back injury

This was an ideal opportunity for Ferdinand to play a key role in England's World Cup qualification, by stepping in to centre-back away to Montenegro on Tuesday night (he would have been rested against San Marino).

But for Ferdinand to pull out without an injury puts Hodgson in a position where he can't really rely on the Manchester United defender again in the future.

For Ferdinand to pull out without an injury puts Hodgson in a position where he can't really rely on the Manchester United defender again in the future.

Jamie Redknapp
Quotes of the week

A lot of players put club before country now and that's just the way it is. I broke my ankle twice and tore a hamstring playing for England. That cost me three or four years of my career, so more than anyone I can empathise with Ferdinand about his concerns in trying to get the most out of the playing time he has left.

It's a complicated situation - but better communication between the two parties could have prevented this from becoming a big issue.

As it is, England will have to go to Montenegro next week with a centre-back pairing short on experience. I suspect Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling may get the nod, but neither of those players have been featuring regularly for their clubs recently and that's a big concern going into a game of this magnitude; a game which will have a big bearing on whether England qualify for the World Cup automatically or have to go into the play-offs.

I like Lescott a lot, he's got good pace and reads the game well, but there's nothing like playing week-in, week-out for your club and gaining the confidence that brings. You'd love to have a Gary Cahill or Ferdinand in there because in Mirko Vucinic and Stevan Jovetic, Montenegro have two talented forwards who will cause problems.

Jovetic in particular is a player with real talent. He first came to our attention when he scored a brace against Liverpool in the Champions League a few years ago and England will need to get a handle on him because, as much as everyone knows Juventus' Vucinic, it's the Fiorentina man who's the real danger.

Underrated

England's backline will be in for a far easier ride on Friday night, though, and there are suggestions Michael Carrick may drop into centre-half for that one - and that's a move which makes sense to me.

There simply isn't the need to play a centre-back pairing of Lescott and Smalling against San Marino. Instead, it's far better to have someone there who can start off attacks, hit passes off both feet 40-50 yards and build up the play.

Carrick has played in that position for Manchester United this season in both the Champions League and Premier League so it shouldn't be a problem - and San Marino certainly don't have a player like Everton's Marouane Fellaini, who caused the England man problems earlier in the season when he was in defence.

As far as Carrick's concerned I'm sure he'll be pleased to be involved because, at the age of 31, he's only had 26 caps and, given his talent, he should have a lot more.

He's an exceptional player and, for me, can be a key player for England if Hodgson decided on playing a passing style of football.

At Euro 2012 England really struggled to keep the ball but in Carrick - who has been at the heart of Manchester United's midfield for four Premier League-winning campaigns - they have a player who is brilliant at doing just that.

He may not always get the attention his performances deserve - he doesn't go flying into tackles like Roy Keane, for instance - but he goes about his business in a modern style which is not so much about slide tackles as slide-rule passes. Plus the way he can break up opposition attacks is unheralded but effective.He's probably enjoying his best season at Manchester United now and there's no reason England can't make room for him in their midfield, and allow the likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere to press on and do their things while he goes about his work just behind them.

San Marino v England

We'll win this one pretty comfortably - 3-0 or 4-0 - but I don't think it will be a 10-0 drubbing or anything like that because we saw how hard they can make it when they sat behind the ball at Wembley. They'll sit deep and if they concede they'll probably sit even deeper. They're not going to come out and play. But it will be a patience game for England. They need to keep the ball moving, not take too many touches and just bide their time before picking them off when they tire. It may take 30 minutes, it may take until the second half, but I've not doubt England will eventually break through and win by several clear goals.

Montenegro v England

This is a different test. I think England will pip it, though, and I'm going 2-1 to England - with a few scares along the way! Montenegro are a decent, talented side. Their heads drop if things don't go their way but can be dangerous when they get their tails up - like in the Euro 2012 qualifier with England in 2011, when they fought back from 2-0 down. Once they got a goal back in that game and Wayne Rooney was sent off they suddenly played with confidence and showed their ability. With a passionate home crowd behind them again on Tuesday, they'll be determined to get a result. England will need to ride out the storm this time and grind out the win. That's what it's about now. No one cares how you qualify, you just need to get the job done.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Premier League: 10 questions

We look at the big talking points ahead of a key weekend in the Premier League.

Hart signs new City contract

Joe Hart has signed a new long-term contract which keeps him at Manchester City until the end of the 2018-19 season.

Redknapp: Reds need big win

Liverpool can get back in the top-four race with a win over Arsenal, says Jamie Redknapp.

Van Gaal chasing perfection

Louis van Gaal will continue to demand more from Manchester United despite Sir Alex Ferguson telling him: 'It's results that count'.

Wenger: How I signed Sanchez

Arsene Wenger says it was Arsenal's consistency and style of play that convinced Alexis Sanchez to choose London over Liverpool.

Features

Tyne-Wear Derby: Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback is now a Newcastle favourite following his summer move

Tyne-Wear Derby: Ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback is now a Newcastle favourite following his summer move

Former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback has quickly won over the Newcastle fans and could be a key figure in the Tyne-Wear derby, writes Adam Bate...

Premier League questions: Can Brendan Rodgers silence his critics? And will Villa Park be Man Utd's haven again?

Premier League questions: Can Brendan Rodgers silence his critics? And will Villa Park be Man Utd's haven again?

With another huge weekend of Premier League football ahead of us, we ponder 10 questions that will be answered by Monday evening...

Five classics

Five classics

Liverpool v Arsenal is a fixture steeped in history and with the pressure on both bosses ahead of their Super Sunday clash, this weekend’s meeting could be another one to remember.