Dundee coup as England cap Steven Caulker pens 18-month deal

Dundee have pulled off a signing coup by bringing the former England defender '¨Steven Caulker to Dens Park.

Steven Caulker, formerly of Queens Park Rangers, has joined Dundee. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images

Caulker, who counts Tottenham, Swansea, Cardiff, QPR, Southampton and Liverpool among his former clubs, has signed an 18-month deal.

The 26-year-old centre-back scored on his England debut against Sweden in a 2012 friendly but has never won a second cap.

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Last summer he opened up on his battles with mental illness, gambling and alcohol problems before making a return from a serious hip injury with QPR. But he only made four appearances this season, the last in September, and left Loftus Road by mutual consent in late December.

Caulker trained with his new Dundee team-mates yesterday morning ahead of signing his contract. He could make his debut in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup fifth-round encounter with Motherwell.

Calum Butcher, the former Dundee United defender, knows Caulker well from their time together at Spurs and believes Dundee have made an astute signing, likening the centre-back to Rio Ferdinand.

“The biggest compliment I can pay him is by saying he’s every inch like Rio Ferdinand,” Butcher said.

“He’s got the same style, the way he brings the ball out of defence. That’s who he reminds me of 100 per cent.

“I came through the youth ranks with Steven at White Hart Lane so know as well as anyone how talented he really is. Back then, he was just scary with all the ability he had. There was nobody like him at Spurs at that time.

“I was his partner in central defence and he was a dream to play alongside. I learned more from him than any other player in my career.

“This is a massive signing for Dundee. Their supporters have every right to be excited because he can do amazing things for that club. He’s a great team-mate and, believe me, he will have a major voice in the Dens Park dressing room.”

Butcher knows his former team-mate has seen his career go wayward in recent seasons but has no doubts he will get it back on track for Neil McCann’s side.

“OK, he’s gone off the rails a bit in recent years and had a few issues off the field,” Butcher said. “I think he’s actually won respect overall for being brave and coming out and being brave by speaking about different things.

“But there’s no doubting for a second his ability and that’s why Dundee have gone in there and brought him up to Scotland. He’s big, strong and so, so quick – all the attributes you want in a modern-day centre-back.”