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World Cup: England's defensive frailties

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With expectations as low as they have been for years, Roy Hodgson will be hoping his players can flourish without that weight of expectancy at this summer's World Cup.

And with some of his forward players coming in to form at just the right time, he will feel there is cause for optimism inside the camp. Especially if the former West Brom manager can find a system in which to accommodate his best attackers.

The likes of Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge have lit up the Premier League this season with their performances, and if they can reproduce their club form in Brazil - opposing defence's could be in for a torrid time.

But these are England's strengths. And as good as any side's strengths may be, it is your weaknesses that can be truly exposed on the world stage.

So, what is England's biggest weakness? One word. Defence.

Cast our minds back ten years. England had a whole host of credible options in the centre of defence. John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell, Jamie Carragher and Ledley King, to name a few.

All were considered to be within Europe's elite defenders, fast forward to now, the situation doesn't make such reading.

With the exception of Gary Cahill, it would be hard to make a case for any English central defender being capable of competing on the biggest stage of all.

And with the greatest of respect to Cahill, if you were to throw his name in with the defenders mentioned from years gone by, he would be bottom of the list.

Providing Phil Jagielka returns from the hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined recently, it is likely to be he who partners Cahill at the heart of England's back-four.

As good a player as Jagielka has been for Everton over the years, there are serious reservations about his pace at international level.

But if we then delve deeper, the prospects become even bleaker.

Manchester United pair, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are likely to be the two understudies in Hodgson's squad, and both have had unspectacular seasons, at best.

The two have also been earmarked to be England's centre back partnership for years to come, but a rapid improvement is required in both player's game if they are to become England mainstay's. 

Does Hodgson have any other alternatives with less than 50 days until the World Cup kicks off? Quite simply, no.

Steven Caulker has been part of a leaky Cardiff City back line. Joleon Lescott has barely played all year for Manchester City, and the list of potential candidates all but ends there.

We shouldn't discount England because of these defensive deficiencies, but it is worth being aware of them when they face the likes of Suarez and Balotelli in a few weeks time.

And that's just the group stages.


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Topics:
World Cup
England Football
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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