Andy Carroll England debut in doubt

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The Independent Online

Andy Carroll's dream England debut has been cast into doubt after Newcastle sent an e-mail to the Football Association expressing their concern about the player's fitness.

Fabio Capello's announcement yesterday lunchtime that Carroll would start in tonight's friendly against France at Wembley set alarm bells ringing at St James' Park.

The Magpies are not convinced Carroll has fully recovered from a groin injury he sustained against Fulham on Saturday and sent a message to that effect to the FA yesterday afternoon.

There has been no official public response from the FA, and there is unlikely to be one before Capello unveils his starting line-up an hour before kick-off.

Yet the Italian must have felt fairly sure of his ground before choosing Carroll, and then extolling his virtues and explaining why the 21-year-old's private life could improve by his involvement with the national team.

Capello was aware of Carroll's groin injury on Sunday evening and kept him out of training on Monday, believing the player would eventually be ruled out.

However, after the striker reported an easing of the problem, Carroll was sent for a scan, the results of which were assessed by the England team medical staff.

They were sufficiently satisfied to clear Carroll to train yesterday and the player came through a full session without any discomfort.

Given his history as a club manager and the knowledge that Carroll could become a key part of his plans for Euro 2012 qualification, Capello is unlikely to do anything that would risk the player's fitness, or antagonise his club.

Yet Newcastle are sufficiently worried that Carroll could end up being ruled out of Saturday's Premier League encounter with Bolton to make their point.

Press Association Sport understands the club, whose own medics assessed the injury before the player met up with the rest of the squad, contacted the FA to "express their concern" over the possible consequences.

It is understood the Magpies' missive stopped short of asking for the Gateshead-born front man to be withdrawn, but rather urged caution with him.

Carroll has been one of the mainstays of Newcastle's creditable start to life back in the top flight, which currently sees him at the top of the scoring stakes with seven goals to date.

One of those was the winner in his club's shock 1-0 victory at Arsenal earlier this month, a game for which Capello was at the Emirates Stadium.

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