Malky Mackay backs new QPR signing Steven Caulker to become England's best

Having managed new Queens Park Rangers signing Steven Caulker at Cardiff City, Malky Mackay has backed the youngster to go on to become both England's and the Premier League's top centre-back.

Steven Caulker’s former boss Malky Mackay believes the new Queens Park Rangers signing has the potential to become both England’s and the Premier League’s top centre-back.

Having signed Caulker from Tottenham Hotspur last July, Mackay managed the 22-year-old at Cardiff City for the first-half of last season until his sacking in December, and believes he will thrive at QPR now his move to the capital has been completed.

‘I think he’s got the potential to be England’s top centre-back for years to come,’ he told Sky Sports News Radio.

‘He’s only young but he’s got all the tools to be a top quality international. In the Premier League, he’s testing himself against the best strikers in Europe and it’s going to make him grow.

‘He wants to play for England and at the highest level and he’s going to prove that at QPR.’

Brought up through the Spurs academy, Caulker spent a season-long loan at Swansea City during 2011-12, before returning to his parent club to play in 28 games over the course of 2012-13, going on to earn his first England cap and goal in a November friendly against Sweden.

Playing every minute for Cardiff last season after his £8 million move, the promising defender earned widespread plaudits for his performances, despite the club’s relegation to the Championship, and now will get the chance to continue his growth in the top-flight, having signed a four-year deal at QPR.

  TeamOutfielder Block / appsWon Tackle / appsEffective Clearance / appsEffective Head Clearance / appsDuel Won / appsAerial Won / appsInterception Won / appsAppsMins
Steven Caulker Cardiff 1.55 0.82 8.58 4.97 5.16 3.79 1.24 38 3,420
Gary Cahill Chelsea 0.70 0.90 6.83 4.73 5.37 3.53 0.97 30 2,623
Phil Jagielka Everton 0.38 1.27 8.88 5.31 5.19 2.77 1.88 26 2,316
Phil Jones Man Utd 0.50 1.69 5.73 4.00 5.62 2.08 2.12 26 2,174
Chris Smalling Man Utd 0.64 1.20 7.16 4.92 5.32 2.52 1.08 25 1,938

Whether Mackay’s ambitious words will ultimately hold true remains to be seen but there’s no doubt that Caulker is indeed an exciting prospect, already well-established on the club level, who could have a bright international future ahead of him if he continues to progress as he has done over the last few seasons.

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