England adjust to life after Terry

  • Last Updated: October 4 2012, 6:35 BST

After almost 12 months, a deposed captain and an abandoned coach, England will finally move on Thursday.

Roy Hodgson: Searching for Terry replacement

When Roy Hodgson unveils his squad for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland, John Terry's name will be conspicuous by its absence.

Hodgson may not have wanted it, even senior FA executives insisted it did not need to be this way.

But Terry has made his call, declared his position "untenable" and now it is time to go down a different path.

The size of the hole left by the 31-year-old's absence cannot be understated.

Unless Rio Ferdinand is recalled - and that is highly unlikely - Hodgson has not just lost 78 caps and the experience gained at four major tournaments.

He is also having to do without the undisputed dressing room leader.

No matter who was wearing the captain's armband, Terry was a dominant presence within the Three Lions fold, probably the finest skipper the Premier League has known since Roy Keane retired.

Hodgson cannot hope to find a replacement. Rather like Sir Alex Ferguson after he booted the controversial Irishman out of Old Trafford in 2005, he must make adjustments to minimise the loss.

If Ferdinand misses out, there is a decent chance that Tottenham's Steven Caulker will be picked instead.

The 20-year-old member of Great Britain's Olympic team was an unused substitute in Berne in August when he received his first senior call-up for the friendly win over Italy.

Hodgson was at Old Trafford along with assistant Gary Neville on Saturday.

He would therefore have seen a compelling argument for Caulker's selection given Ferdinand was poor against Tottenham, in stark contrast to Bristol City's 2010-11 Player of the Year, who was excellent in repelling Robin van Persie and company.

And, whilst Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka, England's uncertain pairing for the draw with Ukraine at Wembley last month which Terry missed through injury, plus Chelsea's Gary Cahill, will be ahead of Caulker in the pecking order, Tottenham assistant-boss Steffan Freund is in no doubt the Feltham-born youngster has what it takes.

"It's definitely possible," said Freund, when asked whether Caulker could replace Terry.

"He is definitely one of the best centre halves in England.

"He is like a rock in the defence, very tall and strong, and is difficult to beat in a one-on-one situation.

"John Terry was a great centre-half for England, everyone appreciates that, but Steven Caulker one for the future."

The return of Wayne Rooney may result in Hodgson selecting five forwards given the pair most at risk, Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge, both impressed as substitutes against Ukraine, Jermain Defoe did well in Moldova and Andy Carroll has recovered from his hamstring injury.

Of the players on the fringes doing most to catch Hodgson's eye, Aaron Lennon stands out.

However, at 25, whilst Lennon is not in the veteran stage, he has not featured for his country since winning his 19th cap in that truly awful World Cup group game against Algeria in Cape Town in June 2010.

Intriguingly, Hodgson drafted Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling into his squad as cover for the Ukraine encounter last month.

He welcomed Sterling - and Adam Lallana and Jake Livermore - into the fold with the rather mixed message of saying he had virtually no chance of playing, whilst challenging him to do enough in the following weeks to remain there.

As Sterling has started every Premier League for Liverpool since the last international break, the 17-year-old cannot be accused of failing to deliver on his part of the bargain.