Lescott favourite to partner Rio for England

City famously had six players on the pitch in England’s last England qualifier, with the prospect of another five on offer tonight. The most remarkable of these might be Joleon Lescott at centre-back.

The reason for this surprise is Joleon’s inability to get a game in his preferred position at club level. So far this season he has been used as cover for Aleksandar Kolarov and Wayne Bridge at left back.

In fact the last time Joleon played at centre-back in a competitive fixture for City was against Sunderland on 14 March. With the hugely impressive partnership of Vincent Kompany and Kolo Toure rightly being maintained it could be a while yet before Joleon is first choice at centre-back for City.

Once Bridge or Kolarov return to action, the Europa League is likely to be Joleon’s best shot for first team action at centre-back. Mancini will need to rotate the squad with a series of twice weekly games coming up.

This shouldn’t be seen as a criticism of the player, who is a very capable Premier League defender. None of the top clubs have a player of his calibre to call upon outside their first choice pairing.

Joleon’s City career didn’t get off to a flyer under the defensive disorganisation of Mark Hughes’ reign. However his performances, when fit, under Mancini and Capello have been sound in 2010.

It just goes to show the strength of the City side that we have the unprecedented situation of a player finding it easier to get a game for England than he does at City.

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