Gerrard ‘can replace Terry as England centre-back’

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Former England international Chris Waddle has backed Steven Gerrard to move back from his usual midfield spot and fill in for John Terry as a central defender for England.

Terry announced his retirement from international football just before the FA’s decision to ban him for four games for racially abusing QPR’s Anton Ferdinand earlier this month.

That has left England looking to fill the void left behind by Terry, with Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson opting to call up Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross alongside regulars Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill for Friday’s fixture against San Marino on Friday and the game against Poland next week.

Gerrard is also in the squad – although the Liverpool skipper will not lead out his England team-mates at Wembley against San Marino because of the red card he picked up against Ukraine last month.

Waddle, who won 62 caps for England, believes that the Anfield legend can fulfill a role away from his usual midfield berth.

"[Gerrard] is good enough to convert to a centre-half. He's competitive, he reads the game brilliantly and he has a terrific range of passing," he told ESPN.

The Germans have done it for years – [Lothar] Matthaus, [Franz] Beckenbauer and [Matthias) Sammer all went back there. We should do that more.

"Instead, we get a player, put him in a position then say 'he's tired now, he hasn't got the legs, get rid of him'."

Waddle also likened the possibility of Gerrard, now 32-years-old, moving into defence, to that of Glen Hoddle’s move towards the back.

"You wouldn't say Glenn Hoddle is a physical player but he did it," he commented.

"You might get muscled out of a tackle, you might lose a 50-50 but, in modern football, the aggressive centre-halves, the bully boys with split eyes, have gone.

"You tackle once, it's a yellow; the second tackle you're gone. You want players who can intercept, who can read the game and nick the ball."

The Liverpool midfielder has shown no signs of slowing down this season, and has made 10 appearances for the Merseyside club so far, scoring three times including a strike against Liverpool's fierce rivals Manchester United.

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