Gerrard Houllier urges Fabio Capello to bring Jamie Carragher back for England
GERARD HOULLIER has urged Fabio Capello to persuade Jamie Carragher to come out of international retirement - and hailed the Liverpool man as the answer to England's problematic right-back position.
Carragher, who has won 34 caps, has asked not to be considered for selection for his country since 2007 having grown tired at his treatment from a succession of national team managers.
The 31-year-old was in particular aggrieved that he was rarely utilised in his preferred centre-back role despite regularly being hailed as one of the best defenders in Europe by his peers.
With Manchester United pair Gary Neville and Wes Brown hampered by injuries in recent years and Portsmouth's Glen Johnson yet to fully convince Capello, the right-back slot remains up for grabs ahead of next summer's World Cup.
And former Liverpool manager Houllier believes Carragher's versatility and experience would prove invaluable for England in South Africa.
"It's not my place to offer advice to Fabio Capello," said Houllier. "But I'd go to Jamie Carragher and say 'We need you'.
"I'd ask him to come back at the start of next season. In my mind I'd have him pencilled in for the right-back position, where England have no obvious solution at the moment, but the great thing about Carra is he can play right-back, left-back and, of course, centre-back - and do a job in defensive midfield, too.
"All that experience would be valuable in a World Cup. On top of everything else, he's a great lad to have in the dressing room."
Capello declared last month that the door was open for Carragher and Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, who retired from the international scene almost five years ago.
However, Capello's plea is likely to fall on deaf ears with Carragher having shown little sign of being tempted back into the international fold, particularly when any possible recall would not be in his preferred position in central defence.
England can move a step closer to next summer's World Cup with victory in their qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard has hailed Pepe Reina as the best goalkeeper in the world after his recent impressive form for Liverpool.
Reina's clean sheet against Aston Villa last week was his 100th for the club, the Spaniard reaching the landmark quicker than any other goalkeeper in Anfield history.
Although Reina is unlikely to oust Iker Casillas from the Spanish national team for their World Cup qualifier in Turkey tomorrow, Gerrard reckons the keeper has now equal at present.
"We're really happy with the keeper that we've got at Liverpool and as far as I'm concerned Pepe is probably the best in the world in his position right now," said Gerrard.
"If you look at the games we've won of late, Pepe has played a really important part in those victories by making important saves at vital moments and he's even created a couple of goals as well.
"So we know just how good he is and he is definitely one of the world's best."
Hertha Berlin claim they will sign Andriy Voronin for ÃÂ£4million in the summer if they qualify for next season's Champions League.
Voronin has scored 11 league goals in 21 games - eight of which have come in the last seven matches - since joining the Bundesliga side on a season-long loan.
Hertha president Werner Gegenbauer says the cash-strapped side have agreed a deal with Liverpool for the 29-year-old Ukraine international, but the deal depends on whether Hertha make the Champions League.
"We cannot go through with a transfer unless we have extra funds from the Champions League, so it depends on whether or not we qualify," said Gegenbauer.
"We can give and receive no promise, but we have to wait and see what happens at the end of the season."
Hertha currently lead the Bundesliga, but only one point separates the first four teams with nine games to go.