When England defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling pulled out of the national team squad with an injury, I was in no doubt whatsoever as to who Gareth Southgate should call up to replace him.
West Brom’s Craig Dawson, a central defender playing at right-back, has now been a Premier League regular for a side with a good defensive record for the last three seasons.
Last season, Dawson did not miss a single minute of Premier League action for West Brom, making 38 appearances, and scoring an impressive four goals.
This season, he’s playing better than ever and it’s been a great campaign so far for the Baggies, who find themselves in eighth place in the table. He’s only missed one game all season, and has scored three goals already, with two of those coming against Arsenal last weekend!
Strong, athletic and composed with the ball at his feet, Dawson is also an excellent defender, who’s not often caught out positionally. Aerially, he’s colossal, there’s not many who get the better of him.
He’s also shown incredible versatility, having not played regularly in his favoured position for over two and half seasons, but you wouldn’t know it, such is the level of his performances.
In the end, Southgate decided to call upon Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, and although he is obviously an excellent defender, I just can’t see what he has done that Dawson hasn’t.
Dawson is in great form, scoring goals, and is a key first team member for a team who are performing above all expectations in the Premier League.
Signed from Rochdale in 2010, Dawson was actually a glass collector three years prior, and has seen himself rise from non-league football to the Premier League. And, he’s still only 26!
An England cap would cap off a meteoric rise for Dawson, and if he keeps playing like he has in recent years, it’s only a matter of time until that time comes. Keep your phone on Craig!