Who to play alongside Rio in the centre of the defence is probably the big quest
Who to play alongside Rio in the centre of the defence is probably the big question going around Sven's mind today as he finalises his plans for tomorrow's vital qualifier with Liechtenstein.Any team would miss Sol Campbell - his super solid performance against Chelsea earlier in the week was further evidence of his magnitude as a player, both physically and metaphorically.
Yet it's not as if Sven's options are limited. He will chose one of three from Woodgate, Terry and Southgate and, looking at that trio, it's difficult to see how Sven could get it wrong, no matter who he picks.
Woody' as he's known around the camp, has the credentials to become the most complete English defender in the game. The player that Sir Bob somehow prized away from Leeds is awesome in the air, fierce in the tackle and, as they say, the boy can play a bit too. He already knows Rio from their time at Elland Road so he'll be a tempting proposition for Mr Eriksson.
John Terry, even on his first England squad call-up, also looks a genuine contender for action. His performances for Chelsea of late - particularly in front of Sven - have been of the highest calibre and, having previously captained the England Under-21s, he will have no problem settling-in at the highest level of the game - if given the nod. His uncomplicated winner's mentality could be the perfect complement to Rio's silky class.
But no one should discount Gareth Southgate. The Middlesbrough skipper has returned to the fold for this double- header having missed the Australia game. His mere presence in and around the team hotel is a stabilising and positive influence on the rest of the players.
Bearing in mind the lack of cohesion that at times undermined the Three Lions against Macedonia, Gareth's ability to organise, talk and knit together the defensive unit may be qualities that Sven is unable to ignore.
At the moment, the players don't even know themselves...
From Daniel Freedman at the England Team base in St Gallen
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LIECHTENSTEIN v ENGLAND
Saturday March 29th
Euro 2004 qualifier in Vaduz