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England Euro 2012 squad: The case for the defence

With a 23 man squad, many nations will take eight or even nine defenders to a major tournament - often two right backs, two left backs, four centre backs and perhaps a 'wildcard'.

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Glen Johnson is arguably one of the country’s finest attacking full backs, however his defensive weaknesses have been widely noted.

Kyle Walker has had a fine season for Spurs in which he won PFA young player of the year, and Micah Richards has been outstanding in a City side that has kept the most league clean sheets.

Other potential right backs include Manchester United’s Phil Jones, who can also operate as a defensive midfielder, Martin Kelly, who has really come into his own this season, and Newcastle’s Jay Simpson - although he has never won a senior cap.

With his centre back options, Hodgson has a challenge. John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are not exactly on good terms.

Therefore bringing both may cause conflict, which leads to the question which one to take? Terry is seen as a leader although has been in poor form, as highlighted by Andy Carroll recently.

Tough decision

Rio Ferdinand has had a great season rolling back the years which will force a tough decision from Hodgson.

Joleon Lescott has been in fine form alongside Vincent Kompany, as has Gary Cahill since his move to Chelsea.

Chris Smalling has matured, however faces a race to be fit. Tottenham duo Ledley King and Matt Dawson are great defenders on their day, although both are injury prone and haven’t had much playing time this season.

Ryan Shawcross has played well for Stoke but lacks experience. Phil Jagielka has been phenomenal for Everton since returning from injury and has helped them secure seventh position in the league.

Left back is more straightforward. Ashley Cole will be first choice with Leighton Baines his deputy, although the Everton man’s 'homesick' saga during the World Cup 2010 could work against him.

VERDICT: Glen Johnson, Micah Richards, Gary Cahill, Rio Ferdinand, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines.

By Liam Hoey – Follow me on Twitter @LiamHoey94

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