Michael Dawson has backed Ledley King to take the place of the injured Rio Ferdinand in the heart of England's defence at the World Cup.
Dawson joined his England colleagues in South Africa on Saturday after earning a recall to Fabio Capello's 23-man squad in the wake of the knee injury that has ended Ferdinand's World Cup hopes. And the 26-year-old has backed Tottenham team-mate King to set aside doubts over his fitness to become a fixture alongside John Terry in the back four in South Africa.
"Without a shadow of doubt Ledley won't let anyone down," Dawson said. "The last couple of months with Tottenham he played three games in seven days, so he can do that - and when he's fit, he is world class."
He added: "Playing alongside Ledley, he certainly brings a calmness to the whole team. You look at him and he never seems to get flustered.
"He's not someone who will rant and rave. He's actually quite quiet. But when he does talk everyone listens - and he leads by example and his performances show that.
"Everyone wishes him all the best. He's worked hard, he's been injured for quite some time with his knee but he has remained mentally strong.
"Whenever he plays he's fantastic, he deserves to go to the World Cup."
Dawson, whose World Cup hopes were in tatters just a few days ago, described the turnaround in his fortunes as "madness".
He added to Daily Star Sunday: "They say a week's a long time in football and that's certainly been true for me.
"I was obviously gutted when I got the call on Tuesday to say that I would not be a part of the 23 but here I am now in South Africa. It's madness."
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