Ledley King’s World Cup dreams may be slim but he believes there could still be a Tottenham defender in Fabio Capello’s squad for South Africa.
England boss Capello is an admirer of King but the 29-year-old cannot play matches in quick succession due to a chronic knee condition, meaning he could only be used as an emergency reserve at a tournament.
It remains highly unlikely Capello will look at King again after recalling him nine months ago, or Jonathan Woodgate after his recent groin problems – but Michael Dawson has benefited from the injuries to Harry Redknapp’s defenders.
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"Michael would fit in at England, I’ve seen his qualities," King said. "He’s been brilliant. Whenever he is called upon he’s brilliant. He’s making the position his own and deserves a lot of credit for that.
"He’s a better player with the ball than people give him credit for as well. He’s been in the squad before and I’ve got no doubt that if he keeps it up he’ll get his chance again."
Dawson may have questioned his place in Redknapp’s pecking order when Sebastien Bassong was signed in the summer but the Spurs boss has been impressed with the attitude of the former Nottingham Forest centre-back.
"He’s a wholehearted, proper centre-half," Redknapp said. "He’ll go through a brick wall for you."
Dawson, who has been in previous squads but is still uncapped, was on standby for the last World Cup after Danny Murphy picked up an injury but after two weeks training with Sven-Goran Eriksson’s squad he did not board the plane to Germany.
There are parallels with that year as Spurs were chasing a Champions League place but famously missed out on the final day of the season when the squad was hit by a norovirus on the eve of their clash against West Ham.
This time around they have boosted their top-four hopes with 10 points from 12 heading into 2010 and players such as King and Luka Modric are returning from injury. Victory over West Ham on Monday also meant four consecutive clean sheets.
"We’ve got a goalkeeper playing well and good defenders," King said. "We’ve got four great centre-halves at the club….well, three and me.
"Our full-backs are good and we have players that can come in and do a good job. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be keeping clean sheets. "We have a fabulous squad at the moment. You look at the bench and some of the players injured or not involved. It’s important we push each other and strive for greatness.
"We have two teams at the moment and they can both play. We know the competition for places is fierce and we have to perform or we won’t be playing. That is working in our favour."
King believes the unpredictable results in the league this season can also work in Spurs’ favour.
"This season we are showing the signs and looking like a team with the capabilities of getting in the top four," he said. "We’ve had a couple of hiccups, the results against Wolves and Stoke at home, but other teams are doing it as well.
"That is keeping us in there. It’s important we pick up as many points as we can, away from home too. Our away form is something that let us down in the past but we’ve improved on."