Roy Hodgson is set to name his England squad for Euro 2012 on Wednesday and the most contentious issue hinges on how he intends to deal with his star centre-backs.
John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have more than 150 England caps between them but find themselves at odds over the former’s trial for allegedly racially insulting the latter’s brother.
If Hodgson can convince the two men they can work together on a football field, he may take the view that they still have the ability to forge a formidable unit.
Terry and Ferdinand are 4/1 (5.0) with Sportingbet to start together against France in Euro 2012.
But there is a good chance Hodgson will end up having to choose between the experienced pair.
Terry is two years younger than Ferdinand and, while a far more divisive figure, his fitness is more reliable than his Manchester United counterpart.
One option would be to pair Terry with Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott, who has enjoyed an impressive season with the new champions. That scenario is available at 6/1 (7.0) with Sportingbet.
But since both Terry and Lescott both prefer to play on the left-side of defence it’s not an ideal fit.
More suited to Terry would be Gary Cahill, his Chelsea team-mate and the man who helped keep Barcelona at bay at Stamford Bridge.
Terry and Cahill are 4/1 (5.0) with Sportingbet to start the France game as England’s centre-back pairing.
But it could well be that Hodgson decides Terry is just not worth the hassle of dividing the dressing room this summer.
Ferdinand and Lescott are two men with complementing styles. The passer and the stopper would form a right-foot and left-foot combination that could succeed for England this summer.
That pairing is available at 6/1 (7.0) with Sportingbet.
And yet, the permutation regarded as the favourite is for Ferdinand and Cahill to line-up against Laurent Blanc’s side on June 11 - that's at 7/2 (4.5).
It’s long odds for a favourite so there’s money to be made if you believe you know which way Hodgson is leaning when it comes to his biggest squad decision this week.
Ferdinand and Cahill - 7/2
Terry and Cahill - 4/1
Terry and Ferdinand - 6/1
Terry and Lescott - 6/1
Ferdinand and Lescott - 6/1
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