Dawson: I’d never quit England

Ben Foster last week became the latest player to make himself

unavailable for his country after announcing he wanted to focus on

his Birmingham career. Last year saw Foster’s fellow goalkeeper

Paul Robinson decided to retire from international football upon

receiving a call-up, while Jamie Carragher did the same three years

ago after becoming fed up with failing to break up the John

Terry-Ferdinand partnership. That is something Dawson has succeeded

in doing this season, with Ferdinand unavailable for several

England games due to injury. Dawson has started two of the last

three internationals, including March’s European Championship

qualifying win in Wales, where he partnered Terry after the Chelsea

defender controversially reclaimed the captaincy from the injured

Ferdinand. Ferdinand has since returned to fitness, helping

Manchester United clinch the Premier League title and reach this

month’s Champions League final. With Fabio Capello having expressed

doubts over Ferdinand’s susceptibility to injury, the England boss

must now decide whether to recall him for the hugely important

qualifier against Switzerland on June 4, or allow the Terry Dawson

partnership to develop. But even if he falls back down the pecking

order, Dawson will not follow in the footsteps of Foster, Robinson

and Carragher. “I would never do that,” said the Tottenham star

during a tour of the Heritage Museum of Vauxhall, who are official

England sponsors. “I’ve got four caps. For me to play for my

country, I’ve always said, is a great honour, and no better feeling

than pulling that England shirt on. “So I certainly won’t be

thinking that.” As Joe Hart’s understudy, Foster’s decision has

arguably left England exposed in the goalkeeping department were

the former to suffer an injury. But Dawson argued: “I wouldn’t say

that. “Ben made the decision and that’s down to him. “Joe’s number

one, top keeper, a great lad. “But we’ve got other good, young

goalkeepers coming through and I’m sure they’re looking and

thinking, ‘I want to be next’.” Dawson was more concerned about

keeping hold of his own place, which he could justifiably consider

his to lose after helping England to two victories in his last two

games. “I wouldn’t say it’s mine,” he said, pointing out the vast

international experience of Terry and Ferdinand. “You can never say

it’s yours until you’ve got as many caps as they’ve got, and even

still you can’t take your foot off the gas. “You’ve got to keep

putting in performances for your club, which they’ve done for many

years, and on the international scene. “So, for me, I will

hopefully do well in the last game for Tottenham and then be

involved in the squad. And then we’ll see.” Should Dawson get the

nod, he would run out at Wembley for the first time since making

his first England start in September. The 27-year-old’s dream night

transformed into a nightmare shortly after half-time when his leg

collapsed horribly beneath him in a freak incident reminiscent of

Michael Owen’s horror injury at the 2006 World Cup. Fortunately for

Dawson, he was ruled out for only three months, although he did

miss key games during Tottenham’s unforgettable Champions League

campaign. Dawson admitted fearing the absolute worst when he went

down in agony. “I was, yeah, when I saw it after I’d done it,” he

said. “You always pray and keep your fingers crossed when you go

for a scan the next day it’s not going to be long, long-term.

“Three months felt a long time to me but people were thinking it

could be the season.” Locked together with Montenegro at the top of

Group G, next month’s game appears to be crucial for England, who

must still travel to play their nearest rivals. “It’s very tight at

the top,” Dawson said. “We can only concentrate on what we’re doing

and hopefully get the three points against Switzerland.” Dawson

could line up alongside Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll on June 4,

despite both having been named in the provisional squad for this

summer’s European Under-21 Championships. Arsenal manager Arsene

Wenger revealed on Thursday that Wilshere was definitely in the

final 23, although there is doubt over Carroll’s participation amid

reports he is concerned over his fitness. Wenger is opposed to

Wilshere dropping back down to the under-21s but Dawson refused to

be drawn on the issue, saying: “He’s had a long, hard season but

it’s not for me to go into.”