England manager Roy Hodgson says Tottenham defender Michael Dawson fully deserves his call-up to the national squad.
The 29-year old has only received four senior international caps since his debut against Hungary in a friendly in August 2010.
But after consistently impressing at the heart of Andre Villas-Boas’ defence this season, Dawson has been included in the England squad for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
“Michael (Dawson) is in the squad on this occasion in the same way as Rio (Ferdinand) is in the squad on this occasion, because I think their performances merit them being there,” Hodgson told Sky Sports News.
“Michael hasn’t really been a part of my thinking in the past because, to be frank, he hasn’t been fit enough to play. If we go back to the time of the Euros last summer and the autumn, he wasn’t even a potential candidate for the squad because of that reason.
“But he has been fit for the last couple of months and now he is able to play, I have decided to call him up.”
Dawson was in danger of being shown the White Hart Lane exit door last year, but injuries in the Spurs defence coupled with his fine form have led to a prolonged spell in the side – and Hodgson is all too happy to capitalise.
“I have always thought Michael was a good player. I don’t know if he has developed,” he said. “You would have to ask his club coaches if they think they have seen a development.
“But I thought he was a good player when I came across him as an opponent in the Premier League and I see him as a good player today.
“I have met him in the past and had plenty of occasions to see him play on the opposite side when he was in the Tottenham team against either Fulham or West Brom.”