Will England miss Rio?

I don’t think so, for me Rio’s injury could be a blessing in disguise. At times when I watched the England game with Mexico, Rio looked as stiff as a board and like he was treading water.

He didn’t look anywhere near fit, and at top level football he would have been found out eventually.

He only just managed double figures with Premier League appearance last season, due to a back problem that at the moment looks like it isn’t going to go away.

Maybe a summer of total rest is what it needed? I don’t think Alex Ferguson would disagree.

Ledley King will be an able replacement in my opinion, he may well have had a dodgy half hour against Mexico, but I wouldn’t read anything into that as King is a top class performer.

Then we have Jamie Carragher, who ironically hasn’t had his best season for Liverpool, but I’m sure he will be up to the job if called upon.

The only way I can see this hampering England is if they have a major injury crisis. I don’t fancy Matthew Upson in a potential quarter or semi-final against the likes of Spain, Holland or Brazil.

And while Michael Dawson is in great form, he lacks experience at this level, although like Carragher, I’m sure Dawson would let no one down.

King and Terry will need to get up to speed as a partnership fairly quickly, the group stages should give them the opportunity to do this. Hopefully Ledley’s knee will be up to the three games to give them the chance to mould.

It appears that Capello is happy to let King work on his own individual training programme like he does at Spurs, so he must have plenty of faith in him.

Ledley has already said he thinks he will be ok to play all the games, so we can only take his word for it.

Ledley King has to go to South Africa

The performance of Ledley King against Manchester City tonight must have made Fabio Capello’s mind up (if he hadn’t already decided) to take him to South Africa this summer, he breezed through the 90 minutes.

King’s ability has never been in doubt, it has only been his recovery time between games that has been the problem. But he has now just completed two games in five days, or three games in twelve days, which ever way you want to look at it.

All three matches were intense games with plenty riding on them, and he came through them all with relative ease, not sure how his knee will look tomorrow morning though, but there didn’t look to be a bother in him at the end of the game tonight, he certainly wasn’t struggling.

He has just proved to Capello and any doubters that he can get through the relevant matches, and that he can also play at the intensity and high level required at a world cup.

I must admit I did have a slight doubt about taking him, not because of Ledley’s injuries, but because of Ferdinand’s back, I didn’t think you could risk the two in the same squad.

Tony Gale said on Sky Sports News that on this form Ledley is the best centre half in the country, and I couldn’t disagree with that.

If it wasn’t for the fact that Rio is captain and the back four are settled, there would be a strong case for starting with King, and who knows, Capello might yet do that.

King has now proved his fitness, and could he have timed it any better. Even Fabio will probably want him rested for the Burnley match now.

For me, he has to go to the world cup. If there is a slight risk it’s worth taking, the pros now far outweigh the cons as he is simply just too good to leave at home.

Is Ledley King going to South Africa?

Today’s Daily Mirror is running an article claiming that Fabio Capello wants to take Ledley King to South Africa despite his dodgy knee.

Capello is apparently ready to take the chance on King, and wants confirmation of King’s recovery times between matches.

I personally hope he does take King as I think he is the best centre-half in the country at the moment with proven international pedigree. Some will argue that Michael Dawson is in better form, that may be true, but King is proven at international level and playing well.

If Capello decides against King, then Dawson is the other form defender in the country at the moment, so his inclusion would also be justified.

Of the regular three centre-half squad members, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Matthew Upson, none of them are in any sort of consistent form.

Terry has been awful lately, his decision making on the pitch is starting to replicate his decisions off the pitch. Ok, he has had plenty of decent performances since his alledged affair was exposed, but there has been some shockers mixed in with them.

Rio is injury prone at the moment, his back is giving him far too many problems. It is starting to look like a ‘Ledley King style injury’, one where it needs to be permanently managed, rather than one he will fully recover from. As a result he is in and out of the United team, and that has prevented him from getting into any kind of consistent form.

Matthew Upson (like Rob Green) is a struggling player in a struggling team, it has long been debated as to whether or not he is international class anyway. Surely on current form he isn’t. It is unlikely that Capello will dump him now though as he has been in most of his recent squads.

The only thing that I would worry about with King is obviously his fitness. Can Capello afford to have a not fully fit Ferdinand and King in his squad? If neither can play two games in a week, is it a risk too far?

As far as talent goes, I would have King ahead of both Terry and Rio at the moment. I think Capello should gamble on King, as you have to take risks to win the World Cup. You also need all your top class performers in the latter stages of the competition, and Ledley King is a top class player.