This week, The Telegraph set up a wonderful little utility that allowed users to pick their own 23 man squad from a list of players eligible to play for England. After narrowing down my choices, I noticed that England could be in a position to hold an advantage that few other teams in the tournament could boast. If Roy Hodgson decided to select the Chelsea trio of Gary Cahill, John Terry, and Ashley Cole to his 23 man squad, England could possess one of the tournament's only back four with three members from the same club team. Only Greece and Italy could attempt to match and both have demonstrated the lengths a determined defensive side can go in a major tournament.



This may not seem like a tremendous advantage, but defensive cohesion is a team quality that does not develop in the limited amount of training sessions between the end of the domestic league campaign and the World Cup. It is a quality that if forged from years of collective experience, having positional knowledge of your teammates and their abilities, and most importantly from playing dozens of matches together. Defenders must possess an almost telepathic ability to know where his teammates are and few in the tournament could do that better than Cahill, Cole, and Terry.

 2010 World Cup
1-1 Games
Goalless Games
Decided by one goal
Clean sheets
Group
6
6
20
35
Knockout
1
1
9
8
Total
7
7
29
43


In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, out of 48 group stage matches, six ended in 1-1 draws, six ended in goalless draws, 20 matches were decided by one goal, and teams kept total of 35 clean sheets. These trends continued in the knockout stages where out of 16 matches there was one 1-1 match, one goalless match, nine matches were decided by one goal and teams kept a total of eight clean sheets. Spain marched their way to the final and ultimately lifted the trophy thanks to four consecutive 1-0 results. On football's grandest stage, the margins of victory are slim and a goalless draw could provide a result that sees a team progress out of the group stage.

Watch this video and marvel at the teamwork between Cahill and Terry.

Cahill, Cole, and Terry have been training and playing together since Cahill's arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2012. Over that period, the trio has won the UEFA Champions League and Europa League thanks to their resolute defensive mentality and tactical cohesion. Terry and Cahill for the majority of this season were the most formidable defensive tandem in the Premier League. Having the ability to bring this unity and familiarity to the English National Team should be a no-brainer for many managers. However John Terry has fallen out of favor with manager Roy Hodgson and the English media, which all but guarantees that the world's best defensive tandem will not appear together at the World Cup.


Cole's inclusion in the squad has also recently come into question after he spent the majority of the spring on the bench for Chelsea nursing mystery ailments. Despite this, Cole was reintegrated into the squad in for crucial late season matches and performed brilliantly both defensively and going forward. Many pundits expect Hodgson to select Everton's Leighton Baines and Southampton's Luke Shaw as the two left backs. Baines is undeniably talented and should be included without question, however Shaw is a different story. Shaw appeared on the short list for PFA Young Player of the Year and excels going forward, but is prone to periodic defensive lapses. Shaw also only possesses a single appearance with the England senior squad, while Ashley Cole has 107. Experience at the international level is a quality that cannot be quantified and few are as calm and collected in big moments as Ashley Cole.

Squad selections are never an easy process for a manager. Many factors have to be considered including recent form, injuries, mentality, and relationships between the players. England is a team that has struggled on the international stage for years thanks to defensive lapses and poor management. The squad will be under the scrutiny of the British media, perhaps it would be best to choose the players best equipped to deal with the pressure. If I am playing Football Manager, selecting three players from Chelsea's world class defense is a logical solution any manager should make. For Roy Hodgson, it is a decision that could determine the fate of his England squad.