Football: England call for Cole and Scales

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The Independent Online
Andy Cole and John Scales were drafted into England's squad for the summer last night.

Cole, the Manchester United striker, will replace Les Ferdinand who goes into hospital on Thursday for an operation on the groin injury that has ruled him out of the summer games. Derek Wright, the Newcastle United physiotherapist, said: "He's been aware for a while that he had a problem, but put off doing anything until the end of the season."

The Tottenham defender Scales provides cover for Cole's team-mate Gary Pallister who pulled out of the squad last week. The two players were joining up with the other squad members at England's Cheshire base last night before today's first training session ahead of Saturday's friendly with South Africa at Old Trafford.

England fly to Poland for the World Cup tie next week. Cole may also provide cover for Liverpool's Robbie Fowler who is thought to be about to withdraw from the squad following his nose operation.

There was better news on the injury front for Hoddle yesterday, with Paul Gascoigne declaring himself fit and ready for England after his latest testimonial appearance.

A sell-out 5,770 crowd watched Gascoigne play in a benefit for former Newcastle team-mate Wes Saunders at Torquay - his last game before teaming up with the England squad. Gascoigne's side, which included Chris Waddle in goal, won 8-6 with Peter Beardsley scoring twice against a Torquay XI.

Gascoigne said about his fitness: "I wouldn't be here if I was injured. I'm relaxed and enjoying myself. I love testimonials - I can just go out and play. If another one came along on Monday and Tuesday I'd play in those as well."

Liverpool winger Mark Kennedy and Watford striker David Connolly are doubtful for the Republic of Ireland's Group Eight World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein at Lansdowne Road tomorrow.

Mick McCarthy, the Republic manager, will monitor their fitness in today's training session in Dublin, but is unlikely to name his side until just before kick-off.

Connolly has a thigh problem which ruled him out of Pat Bonner's testimonial on Sunday, in which Kennedy had to be substituted after 64 minutes with a recurrence of a groin injury.