Dawson’s tough luck paves the way for Cahill

by Sam Wheatley

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

There were encouraging signs for England as they swept aside a pretty dire Bulgaria side; not least the performances of Joe Hart, Wayne Rooney, Jermaine Defoe and James Milner.  There were still some marked areas for improvement though, notably at the back.  The clean sheet is really testimony to the ability and alertness of England’s new favourite goalkeeper rather than any stout defending. Whilst I deel a deal of sympathy for Dawson, I am of the opinion that his injury may come as something of a blessing in disguise for England.

The Spurs man looked a little dodgy for England against Hungary in August and didn’t look too much better against Bulgaria.  Poor positioning and diving in to tackles were the points up for closer scrutiny, whilst his counterpart Phil Jagielka was more solid.  Upon Dawson’s exit from Friday’s qualifier, Gary Cahill came on and looked more assured, making one superb block.  Given Matthew Upson’s less-than-convincing World Cup performance this summer, I believe it will be Cahill that gets the nod for the sterner test posed by Switzerland on Tuesday.

This is something that I have wanted to see for a while, and I’m not alone.  Fabio Capello himself has been waiting to blood the Yorkshire-born Bolton centre-back for a while now.  Upon first calling Cahill into the squad, Capello picked up a pencil and paper and sent reports to some of his former clubs, Milan and Juventus, suggesting they take a serious look at him.  Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham have also been reported to show some interest in Cahill, and I am of the firm opinion that he has enough potential to cement himself as an international class defender for the forseeable future with enough top-end experience, not to mention become a regular for a Champions League-standard club.

It’s not that I dislike Dawson, I simply feel that Gary Cahill has more to offer.  As a product of Aston Villa’s youth team, he left Villa Park in search of first-team football which is symbolic of his thoughtful approach.  He was an extremely highly-rated prospect at Villa at the time and may well have made the breakthrough at some point, but evidently he understood that first-team football was crucial to his development.

Cahill, 24, is also two years Dawson’s junior at a vital stage in his career.  Dawson has certainly improved as a player since the early days in his career when he would take the ball off the full-back or fellow centre-back, look up, wait, look up again, wait a bit longer and then smack it upfield to no-one.  He has had to learn composure, whereas Cahill has it in abundance – lest we not forget that one of his first actions as a Villa youngster was to score a scissor-kick against rivals Birmingham, which is no mean feat for a 6’2” centre-back, least of all an English one.

I do feel a lot of symptahy for Dawson and wish him a speedy recovery, and would much rather have him playing centre-back for England than any incarnation of Matthew Upson.  There are actually a shocking number of West Ham players in the current England side (two – two too many) considering how badly they’re performing in the league, which is a pretty obvious indication of how badly their players are performing in the league.  Dare I even say that I would even prefer the hapless Jamie Carragher to Upson; but I would prefer Cahill to all three.

Really, when it comes down to it Gary Cahill is simply better than Michael Dawson already, and with a little more experience could develop into a truly top player.  He has all of the tools to do so and the right attitude.  Michael Dawson’s bad luck could turn out to be extemely fortuitous for Gary Cahill, and for England.

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  • Ben McAleer

    Have to feel for Dawson, he was an absolute rock at the back for Spurs last year and he is a massive blow to their Champions league campaign. The signing of Gallas seems like a good bit of business by Redknapp now.

    I also believe that anybody that signs Cahill will be very lucky. He has a bright future ahead of him and deserves better than Bolton IMO

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