Steven Caulker has suggested he had one eye on next summer’s World Cup when he decided to leave Tottenham Hotspur for Cardiff City, with the 21-year-old standing far more of a chance of playing regular first team football at the Premier League newcomers.
Although Malky Mackay has said that Caulker’s first challenge will be to get into the starting line-up at Cardiff, it would be surprising if he did not become a regular quickly considering the Welsh team broke their transfer record to sign him.
He is does play plenty of matches next season, what are Caulker’s chances of gaining an England place for the World Cup, assuming that that Roy Hodgson does manage to steer the side to Brazil.
Caulker does have one international cap already, scoring on his debut in the friendly defeat to Sweden in November last year, a match made famous by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s remarkable 30 yard bicycle kick goal.
He can also take heart from the fact that for the first time in a while, England seem to be short of options in the heart of their defence. Rio Ferdinand and John Terry are at loggerheads and both past their best, and Joleon Lescott is unlikely to get the playing time he needs to claim a place in the national side.
Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are almost certain to be part of the squad if they remain fit, but other than that there are certainly places up for grabs. Manchester United duo Phil Jones and Chris Smalling will be in the running, but considering both have patchy injury records, and are often played in different positions for their club, Caulker has a genuine chance of snatching a place on the plane with a good season at Cardiff.
What will be interesting is to test the big-club bias that seems to have become prevalent in England squad selection. Caulker was picked last season despite only playing a handful of matches for Spurs, will he get selected after a full season at Cardiff?
image: © joncandy