Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Beckham suffers new injury to increase squad problems

David Beckham may miss England's friendly match against with Sweden on Wednesday night after suffering a calf injury during Real Madrid's 5-1 victory over Sevilla last night.

David Beckham may miss England's friendly match against with Sweden on Wednesday night after suffering a calf injury during Real Madrid's 5-1 victory over Sevilla last night.

The Engalnd captain had been doubtful for last night's game because of heavy bruising to his right thigh and calf sustained during his side's 4-2 win over Monaco in the first leg of a Champions' League quarter-final on Wednesday. But in the event he gave a barnstorming display at the Bernabeu only to be substituted with five minutes to go after a heavy challenge from Jose Luis Marti.

Real's coach, Carlos Queiroz, said: "He has a blow on the calf. We took him off as a precaution. Tomorrow there is a conference between the two doctors [of Real Madrid and England] and we will find the best solution."

Jermain Defoe, the Tottenham Hotspur striker, has been given the chance to make a late challenge for a place in England's Euro 2004 squad after being called up on Saturday for Wednesday's friendly international against Sweden in Gothenburg.

"Defoe always scores and you can't take that away from him," the England coach, Sven Goran Eriksson, said of the 21 year old who has impressed since his move from West Ham United in January. "Whether he starts or is on the bench, he is one of those players who is very good to put in."

When asked if there was still time to win a place at the Euro 2004 finals, Eriksson added: "You never know how many problems we will have at the end of the season."

Eriksson has virtually decided his 23-man squad for this summer's tournament, with only four strikers expected to make the grade. Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell are the favourites.

"If I should pick the best squad today and the tournament was in one week's time, I think I should know exactly who would be in the squad," the England coach said. "There might be just one or two decisions to make. But then, when you talk about someone like Ledley King, for instance, he's one who might come in."

There were also surprise call-ups for Robert Green, the Norwich City goalkeeper, and Leicester City's Ian Walker. The Aston Villa defender Jlloyd Samuel, Shaun Wright-Phillips, the Manchester City winger, and the Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson were also included for the first time after Eriksson elected to rest the Arsenal defenders Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell, Manchester United's Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, and Wayne Bridge and Frank Lampard from Chelsea.

The Liverpool striker Owen is also missing after injuring his hamstring in the midweek Uefa Cup loss to Marseille. The Newcastle United midfielder Kieron Dyer is another absentee.

Wright-Phillipssustained calf and ankle injuries in Manchester City's goalless draw with Fulham on Saturday, but will join up with the squad, and Rooney was also cleared to travel despite injuring his ankle and back in Everton's draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday.

With Cole and Bridge ruled out, Samuel did enough in a goalscoring display watched by Eriksson at Charlton Athletic on Saturday to earn a first call-up, while King's injury let in his Tottenham team-mate, Anthony Gardner. Birmingham City's Matthew Upson misses out, but Newcastle's Jonathan Woodgate is included after missing out previously through injury. There is also a recall for Chelsea's Scott Parker.


(v Sweden, friendly, Gothenburg, Wednesday) James (Man City), Robinson (Leeds United), Walker (Leicester), Green (Norwich); P Neville (Man Utd), Mills (Middlesbro), Southgate (Middlesbro), Woodgate (Newcastle), Terry (Chelsea), Carragher (Liverpool), Samuel (Aston Villa), Gardner (Tottenham); Butt (Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Beckham (Real Madrid), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Cole (Chelsea), Parker (Chelsea), Thompson (Celtic), Wright-Phillips (Man City), Jenas (Newcastle); Rooney (Everton), Heskey (Liverpool), Vassell (Aston Villa), Defoe (Tottenham), Smith (Leeds).