Montenegrin striker slams 'weak' England defenders

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Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic has called England's centre-back partnership of Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling 'weak' ahead of their World Cup qualifying tie on Tuesday evening, according to the Daily Mail.

In the absence of Rio Ferdinand and John Terry, Vucinic feels England have a weakness at the heart of their defence which can be exposed by a potent Montenegrin attack.

Vucinic, who plays for Juventus, and highly-rated forward Stevan Jovetic lead the Montenegro line, and should pose the England back four problems in Podgorica.

Tuesday's crunch World Cup qualifier sees top of the group Montengero face second-placed England in a match that could decide the top qualifying spot for next year's World Cup.

The Group H clash follows England's 8-0 demolition of San Marino on Friday night, but Vucinic is confident Montenegro will provide a much sterner test.

And he thinks the back-up centre-back parternship will be exposed by a high-powered Montenegrin attack.

"They must have their personal reasons, [for Terry & Ferdinand not playing together]" said Vucinic. "I'm sure the match would be better and more interesting if they played because they are certainly among the best defenders in the world today."

And when asked if their absence offers an opportunity for his side, Vucinic said: "I certainly do see that as a weakness. If they do not play for their own clubs I do not see why the coach invited them to play."

Smalling is not first-choice at Manchester United while Joleon Lescott is out-of-favour at Manchester City. 

But Roy Hodgson is short of options at the back. Ferdinand withdrew from the squad citing his pre-planned fitness routine, while Michael Dawson pulled out after picking up a hamstring strain in Tottenham's defeat to Fulham. 

Gary Cahill injured his right knee against West Ham, and the Chelsea defender is not available either. As a result, Newcastle defender Steven Taylor was called up by Hodgson. 

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Chris Smalling
Joleon Lescott

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