Barry returns to England training

Gareth Barry was a welcome presence on the Royal Bafokeng training pitches this morning as England went through their paces after finally arriving in South Africa on their World Cup mission yesterday.

Barry had been an extreme doubt to make Fabio Capello's 23-man squad for the tournament when he suffered ankle ligament damage in Manchester City's defeat to Tottenham at Eastlands on May 5.

However, the 29-year-old improved to the extent that Capello was able to pick him in the belief that he will be fit to play a full part in training on the day after England's Group C opener against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.

In itself, the sight of Barry going through his paces during the early part of a training session - only the first portion of which was open for public viewing - confirmed nothing.

Yet there is an obvious indication that by the time England go into battle next weekend, the midfielder could be fit, which would save Capello a huge selection headache.

Barry's presence in the England midfield would allow the Italian to make the most of Frank Lampard's attacking talents and also push Steven Gerrard further forward.

There was also some good news in that Tottenham defender Ledley King was also present for the start of training, Capello having decided the Tottenham captain's notoriously fragile knees were capable of withstanding the rigours of a five-week tournament which England hope to end by being crowned world champions.

The training pitches at the Royal Bafokeng complex have been worked on extensively since Capello announced his intention to base the squad north of Johannesburg for the duration of the World Cup.

And with blue skies overhead, it represented the perfect start, which only goalkeeper David James, sporting an interesting hairstyle, sitting out because he was working separately in the gym.