England manager Roy Hodgson has hinted that Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick could be used as a make-shift centre-back in the World Cup qualifier against San Marino on Friday.
This comes following the withdrawal of Phil Jones, who hasn't recovered from an ankle ligament problem, Michael Dawson, who has a hamstring strain and Gary Cahill, who has had a knee issue all week.
Rio Ferdinand also had to pull out following his strict fitness programme set by Manchester United that cannot be compromised.
Sir Alex Ferguson has opted to use Carrick in defence this season at Manchester United, with the England international filling in against Barcelona in pre season and in the first game of the season against Everton.
Because of his prior experience playing in this position, and his past international experience, this is definitely a viable option for England. Carrick's passing ability and forward thinking nature could be useful should England run into difficulty at the Serravalle stadium.
Hodgson has been left with limited numbers in central defence following these withdrawals, with only Chris Smalling, Steven Caulker, Steven Taylor and Joleon Lescott available. Even with these Premier league players ready for selection, Smalling, Caulker and Taylor have only five international caps between them, whilst Smalling has also been struggling for a first team place at Manchester United this season following the form of Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand and Johnny Evans in particular.
Hodgson also has to bear in mind the game against Montenegro the following Tuesday. Joleon Lescott is only one yellow card away from a one match ban, and whilst San Marino are still an international team, the harder game will be against Branko Brnovic's Montenegro team, so Hodgson may want to preserve the Manchester City centre back for future games.
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