Dawson gets by with a little help from his friends
Published 22/05/2010 | 05:00
Michael Dawson can adopt a relaxed approach to his fight for World Cup recognition knowing that five of his Tottenham team-mates are in exactly the same position.
Dawson's reward for an excellent second half of the season was a place in Fabio Capello's provisional 30-man party, currently at their altitude training camp in Austria.
Having found himself in a similar position four years ago, only to end up missing out when Sven-Goran Eriksson confirmed who would be representing England in Germany, Dawson understands exactly the gut-wrenching disappointment that faces the unlucky men this time around.
That knowledge has brought an additional focus to Dawson's work, although with so many familiar faces around the 26-year-old knows there are plenty of friends around to share his torment.
"All the lads have been fantastic but this is the first squad I have been in under Mr Capello and it makes you a lot more relaxed knowing that when you come away there will be a few familiar faces," said Dawson.
That Tottenham are supplying a fifth of Capello's provisional squad is a testament to the progress that has been made at White Hart Lane under Harry Redknapp.
As Spurs bask in the afterglow of capturing that prized Champions League berth, it is difficult to recall the dark days of 2008, when Redknapp arrived eight games into the campaign with the club fearing relegation after collecting just a couple of points.
"When the gaffer came in we were obviously in a bad situation," said Dawson. "But he came in and turned it around.
"This season he has added one or two, but largely it is the same group of players as when he came in and he has been able to get the best out of them."
The spin-off was a place in the provisional squad for Dawson, who must now prove his worth alongside Jamie Carragher and Ledley King, neither of whom have played under Capello either.
"I got a text saying I had been included in the squad. It was a nice text," said the Yorkshireman.
"It was certainly different compared to 2006 when I got called up because Danny Murphy was injured."
Unfortunately for Dawson, the odds remain that the eventual outcome will be the same as John Terry and Rio Ferdinand are certainties to be picked, Matthew Upson was a regular contributor in qualifying and both Carragher and King have specifically been brought in by Capello to add some extra experience.
All Dawson can do is make the most of his opportunity, which could yet include an international debut against Mexico on Monday night.
"It would be a dream come true to play for my country," said Dawson.
"I have been in a few squads, but not got on the pitch and earned a cap yet."