Updated: Thursday, 27th February 2020 @ 5:52pm

Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic labels Manchester defensive duo as England’s ‘weakness’ ahead of crunch clash

Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic labels Manchester defensive duo as England’s ‘weakness’ ahead of crunch clash

By Paddy von Behr

Montenegro’s mind-games are continuing with star striker Mirko Vucinic took a swipe at England’s defensive pairing of Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott.

Yesterday manager Branko Brnovic claimed England are ‘scared’ ahead of Tuesday night’s tie in Podgorica, prompting Roy Hodgson to turn the other cheek.

And now Vucinic – who plays for Italian champions Juventus – has had his say about the Manchester United and City centre backs.

“I certainly do see that as a source of weakness,” he said.

“If they do not play for their own clubs, I don’t see why their national coach should pick them for the team.”

Hodgson is without Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Phil Jones through injury, while John Terry has quit the international game and Rio Ferdinand controversially pulled out of the squad.

The England manager’s remaining options are Smalling, Lescott and the inexperienced pair of Steven Caulker and Steven Taylor.

And Vucinic thinks England are missing out by not having the veteran duo of Terry and Ferdinand to keep him and his teammates at bay.

He added: “The match would be better and more interesting if they played because they are certainly among the best defenders in the world today.”

England are yet to face Montenegro in this campaign, but the two sides shared the points on both occasions during Euro 2012 qualifying.

And Hodgson will be aware of the threat posed by the home side – especially Vucinic and his strike partner, Fiorentina’s Stevan Jovetic.

Image courtesy of FATV via YouTube, with thanks.

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