West Ham defender Matthew Upson is confident he can step into the England starting line-up this summer if Rio Ferdinand’s injury problems continue over the next few weeks.
Ferdinand – who was succeeded John Terry as England captain – has suffered back and groin injuries this season and has been restricted to just 11 Premier League appearances. This means Fabio Capello needs to decide who would come in for the Manchester United man if he fails to reach full fitness.
Tottenham pair Michael Dawson and Ledley King have been touted as two players that could fill the void, but Upson clearly thinks he is the man to help England live up to their World Cup 2010 betting odds.
The central defender has played a big part in England’s recent internationals and this has led him to believe he is “next in line”. Upson was involved heavily in the successful World Cup qualifying campaign and this will stand him in good stead this summer.
This isn’t something Upson is going to take for granted though. He is aware that “football changes very quickly”, so he knows it is important that he and every other England hopeful keep on top of their game in order to secure their place in the squad.
One thing that could go in Upson’s favour should Ferdinand not make it is the fact England have only lost once when he has played, the 1-0 friendly defeat to Brazil in November 2009 is the game in question.
The former Arsenal man seems to have hit it off with Capello as well, saying that the Italian has a “huge respect throughout the squad” and quite rightly so after what he has achieved in his managerial career. However, with many experts making England World Cup tips' this year, Capello will have to come up with the right answer to his defensive conundrum or he could end up with footballing egg all over his face.
As for what is next for Upson, with his club team West Ham safe from relegation, he will just be hoping to impress in every game leading up to the World Cup squad being announced.