WORLD CUP: Ex-England and Ipswich Town skipper backs Roy Hodgson’s squad selection but worries about defensive inexperience
10:35 20 May 2014
Former England World Cup skipper Mick Mills believes inexperience in the Three Lions’ rearguard could be their downfall in Brazil.
Roy Hodgson’s men travel to South America for Group D games against 2006 winners Italy, Luis Suarez’s Uruguay and outsiders Costa Rica.
England’s first-choice back four is likely to include Everton’s Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines and Chelsea’s Gary Cahill who have yet to play a competitive game at a major tournament, along with seasoned tournament performer Glen Johnson.
Mills, who won 42 caps for England and captained his country at the 1982 World Cup, as well as skippering Ipswich Town to FA Cup and UEFA Cup success said: “I like Roy Hodgson’s squad, although I am not sure I would have left Ashley Cole at home.
“It’s nicely balanced, with a few new faces, but the area that concerns me is the back four. We had such a good group of players that kept their positions in the England defence for a long, long time, the likes of John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville and Cole.
“They won a huge amount of caps and made the positions their own.
“What we have now in Cahill, Baines and Jagielka are players at the perfect age but without any tournament experience.
“It looks very inexperienced as far as the World Cup is concerned, particularly in South America, which I think will be tougher than playing in Europe.”
Progression through the group stages would see England face Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast or Japan in the last 16, with the hosts, Holland and Spain likely opponents in the last eight.
“We have not got an easy group, and I think all the games could go either way,” Mills added.
“If we were to emerge through the groups and reach the quarter-finals, that would be amazing.”