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Monday, November 17, 2008

Capello 'calm' over withdrawals

England manager Fabio Capello is not angry with clubs over the loss of key players for Wednesday's friendly against Germany, the FA has claimed.

England will be without Steven Gerrard (groin injury) and Frank Lampard (rib) and both are said to be "gutted" to miss the match in Berlin.

Capello has previously been critical of player withdrawals.

But the FA's Adrian Bevington told BBC Radio 5 Live Capello "didn't seem to be fuming" and there was "no dispute".

Fulham's Jimmy Bullard and Scott Parker of West Ham have been added to the squad to replace Liverpool skipper Gerrard and Chelsea midfielder Lampard.

But England captain John Terry, who has been struggling with a foot injury, is expected to be available.

The Chelsea defender picked up the knock against West Brom at the weekend but completed a full England training session on Monday.

Gerrard reported for duty on Sunday despite his club saying he would be unavailable after picking up the injury at Bolton on Saturday.

But a check by the FA's medical staff has confirmed the extent of the injury and Gerrard has returned to the north-west.

"Gerrard reported for duty [Sunday] night, was assessed by the medics, scanned [Monday] morning, it's a legitimate injury and he goes back to his club for treatment," said Bevington.

"Obviously [Capello] is disappointed that he's losing players.

"I've spoken personally with both players [Monday] morning, they're gutted about it.

"I've spoken with Gary Lewin, our physio, and he has absolutely no issue - he's looked at them both and they go back having been scanned."

Gerrard played the full 90 minutes at the Reebok Stadium, but a Liverpool spokesman said: "A scan has confirmed a tear in the adductor magnus muscle in Steven's right leg, and he is expected to be out for between seven to 10 days."

Five Live's football correspondent, Jonathan Legard, said Capello was not impressed earlier this season when Liverpool withdrew Gerrard from the World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia to have an operation on a groin injury.

Capello can now call upon just four of his likely first-choice line-up for England's first visit to the German capital since 1972.

Manchester United trio Wayne Rooney, Wes Brown and Rio Ferdinand, along with Chelsea team-mates Ashley and Joe Cole and Wigan striker Emile Heskey are all sidelined with injuries.

While some Premier League managers may see the friendly as an unnecessary distraction from an already busy fixture schedule, Manchester United's Michael Carrick has defended the match against the three-time World Cup winners, describing it as "the stuff of dreams".

"If you ask any player if they want to play in England against Germany they will tell you it is a massive game," said the midfielder.

"It is one I watched when I was growing up and wished that I would one day play in. It is not a hindrance at all, it is a massive honour.

"It is England versus Germany in Berlin at Olympic Stadium. The players are desperate to be a part of it."

Former skipper David Beckham, who is one cap away from equalling Bobby Moore's tally of 108 caps, has been left out of the squad. Beckham has not played since Los Angeles Galaxy's season finished on 26 October after they failed to make the Major League Soccer play-offs.

Capello has made it clear he will only pick players who are playing regularly, and the 33-year-old Beckham will be inactive until he joins Italian side AC Milan on loan in January.

Goalkeeper Joe Hart has an ankle injury and has been replaced by Paul Robinson.

Manchester City's Hart was hurt after falling awkwardly as Hull striker Daniel Cousin scored during Sunday's 2-2 draw at the KC Stadium. He will be sidelined for up to four weeks.

Blackburn's Robinson, who has 41 caps, joins fellow keepers David James of Portsmouth and West Brom's Scott Carson.

Despite the injuries to Heskey and Rooney, Capello has opted not to recall striker Michael Owen, who scored for Newcastle in their draw with Wigan on Saturday.

Mancienne has impressed playing for Championship leaders Wolves
Chelsea defender Michael Mancienne - currently on loan at Wolves - was a surprise inclusion in Capello's squad.

Mancienne, who is yet to play for the Chelsea first team, joins uncapped Aston Villa duo Curtis Davies, 23 and Gabriel Agbonlahor, 22, in a youthful England setup.

Capello said he will take a careful look at the youngsters in his new-look England squad in the international friendly at the Olympic Stadium, home of Hertha Berlin.

"Our opponents Germany are always a very strong team, and when they play at home even more so," he said.

"Everyone has told me that it is not a friendly game against Germany, but I think this will be a friendly game. We will do some experiments and after this game I will know better some different players."

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