Bulgarian boredom means Capello's side will play in front of empty seats

 

Fabio Capello's England team will play in a stadium less than half full against Bulgaria in Sofia tomorrow with the Football Association's counterparts in the East European country admitting they are struggling to sell tickets for the Euro 2012 qualifier.

The England team usually prove a major draw wherever they play, and among the most popular, and lucrative, friendly opposition, but Bulgaria appears to have lost interest in tomorrow's match with their country having little chance of qualifying from Group G.

The Bulgarian Football Union officials have sold fewer than 15,000 tickets for the 43,600-capacity Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, according to Reuters. Tickets have been on sale in petrol stations in the country but despite the prospect of watching Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Theo Walcott among others there has been scant interest. Dimitar Berbatov has long since retired from international football and Bulgaria, coached by the former Germany captain Lothar Matthäus, are fourth out of five in the group.

Capello expects Darren Bent to be fit to play tomorrow if selected, although the Aston Villa striker did not train again yesterday. Walcott was understood to be the stand-out performer in training and looks likely to start on the right wing with Ashley Young on the left side.

Manchester United's new defender Phil Jones, signed from Blackburn Rovers for £16.5m this summer, spoke yesterday about his move to Sir Alex Ferguson's champions. "As soon as I knew United were interested it was a no-brainer for me. I knew what a great manager he was and all the great players he has brought through over the years, it's been fantastic. I was really hoping that I could work with him and thankfully the deal went through and here we are."

His team-mate Tom Cleverley, named in an original England squad for the first time this week, said that United's young players hoped to establish themselves with England. "It does help that a batch of us have come through at the same time," Cleverley said. "You're out there playing with people you know, and you know each other's games inside out. At United we've played with no fear and we're playing exciting football, so if we can do the same with the England squad that will be fantastic."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future