Mills backs Dyer for left-side role

MICK Mills, the former Ipswich and England skipper, feels that the England midfield is the strongest department.The versatile ex-Blues defender or midfield man declared: "In the striker department it looks a bit short with just three recognised front men.

By Dave Allard

MICK Mills, the former Ipswich and England skipper, feels that the England midfield is the strongest department.

The versatile ex-Blues defender or midfield man declared: "In the striker department it looks a bit short with just three recognised front men. But Paul Scholes can play up there if necessary.

"The midfield looks very, very competitive. There is a good selection in that area of high quality players. The midfield is the strong part of the side."


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The England goalkeeping situation is one that causes Mills concern.

He explains: "When I was in the England set-up we had three really top keepers in Peter Shilton, Ray Clemence and Joe Corrigan. The David James, Paul Robinson and Chris Kirkland trio are hardly in the same bracket.

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"But an international manager can only select from what is available and that's the way it is regarding the England keeper situation at the moment."

Mills, awarded the MBE after leading England in the 1982 World Cup in Spain, says of the defensive situation: "This area looks to be getting stronger with Jonathan Woodgate back and John Terry emerging."

The inclusion of the Ipswich born-and-bred Kieron Dyer in the England squad for a return to his old club delights Mills.

He said: "It will be wonderful for the boy and his family who live locally. It would be super for them if he starts the game, but if not then I'm sure he'll be involved at some stage."

Mills believes that Dyer's best chance of a crack in the starting line-up might be on the left of the midfield.

On the general England scene, the 42 times capped Mills considers that head coach Sven Goran Eriksson has got to pinpoint 14 or 15 players.

He explains: "It's all right having a squad of 24, but in my view you have to look to the smaller group that you feel make up the best unit. Beckham, Scholes and Gerrard are three midfield men he sees as natural choices and he has to go with that. The left position is more open and this is where I feels that Dyer has his best chance."

An England game in front of 30,000 at Portman Road will be a massive occasion for the region as well as the borough of Ipswich itself.

Mills, who lives in the Suffolk village of Framsden, said: "It's a great honour for the club and I'm really looking forward to the occasion as well as the game itself.

"Walking out with an England shirt on is a terrific thrill and I know just how much it well mean to the current England crop when they do so at the Croatia game."

He added: "Not long ago it was impossible to imagine a full England match being held at Portman Road. But the loss of Wembley and the subsequent move around for games has given Ipswich this great honour and I'm delighted about it."

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