Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Punters' Panel

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Punters' Panel

Article excerpt

Sven-goran Eriksson is set to name his England squad next Monday for this summer's European Championships in Portugal.

Boro skipper Gareth Southgate would have been a certainty for the squad had he not picked up a bad knee injury.

With Southgate battling to be fit, defensive partner Ugo Ehiogu has been pushed up the pecking order to make the plane to Portugal.

Barry king asks the Punters' Panel if they think Ugo should be picked to pull on an England shirt next month.

John Brookes, below, from Stockton, thinks Boro's stand-in skipper should be left behind to concentrate on his fitness for next season.

He said: "It would be great if both Ehiogu and Southgate could go to Portugal.

"But on current form, Ugo looks a bit rusty. I think when he loses Southgate as his partner then he struggles a little.

"I'm not trying to put him down but at the moment when he plays against quality forwards he does struggle.

"I wouldn't want him to go out to Portugal, play and be made to look a fool.

"They reckon Southgate will be fit but being selfish, it's better for the club if they don't go.

"We want them fresh and fit for the start of the new season. Yes, it's an honour to play for your country but what could be better than leading your club to more silverware?

"I don't think McClaren should go to Portugal as part of the England set-up either.

"We have a busy summer ahead and we need him here dealing with contracts and transfers. If he goes to Euro 2004, we will be at a big disadvantage."

Bari Chohan, below, from Acklam, reckons Ehiogu is ahead of Southgate in the queue to make the England squad.

Bari said: "Ugo has a better chance of being in the squad than Southgate.

"Southgate is coming back from injury and by the time the squad is announced he will barely be running.

"But from a Boro point of view it would be great if both centre-backs went out to Portugal.

"Ehiogu has been caught out a few times and he's a better player when Southgate is there but he has to be a better shout than Ledley King or Wes Brown to go to Portugal with Sol Campbell and John Terry. …

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