With Glen Johnson the only natural right-back in Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad, Jamie Carragher looks almost certain to make the final 23 as cover for his Liverpool team-mate. The potential inclusion of the Scouser, who quit international football back in 2007, has raised a few eyebrows in some quarters, however, following his indifferent form for the Reds last season and the bitter memories that still linger on from his penalty miss against Portugal in the quarter finals in 2006.
At 32, his reputation is certainly waning, but here’s why I think he fully deserves his seat on the plane to the South Africa.
Although Carragher will probably travel as back up for the right-back slot, his preferred position is in the centre providing options for the England boss should Rio and Ledley struggle with their fitness – Ferdinand has only started in a dozen or so league games all season for Manchester United and King has long been restricted by chronic knee problems. Terry and Upson will both be there but the availability of another seasoned centre half who can also play at right back will prove essential next month.
With less than half of the provisional 30-man squad having travelled to Germany for the World Cup four years ago, Carragher has much needed experience of the competition. He has made over 600 appearances playing at the highest level for Liverpool and his record precedes him after winning the FA Cup, League Cup, UEFA Cup, Champions League, Community Shield and European Super Cup. With nothing in the way of international honours, the defender will be keen to put that right in South Africa.
Although he has undeniably lost a yard or two of pace in the last couple of years, he is still a natural leader at Anfield shepherding and organising the back four well. What he lacks in pace is negated by his excellent ability to read the game.
Often labelled as ‘Liverpool’s heartbeat’, Carragher’s passion for the game is beyond doubt and so in my mind, he is a definite for a place in our quest become World Champions once again.
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