Capello plans to start with Cole after illness puts Milner in doubt

Time running out for midfielder to recover from stomach bug ahead of England's opening game tomorrow

Fabio Capello will decide today whether James Milner is fit enough to be in contention for selection against the United States in England's World Cup opener tomorrow, a stomach bug having forced the Aston Villa midfielder to miss the last three days of training.

Milner's chances of playing tomorrow are thought to have been severely reduced even if he is fit enough to join in the final training session tonight at the Rustenburg stadium where England will face the US tomorrow. If he misses that session it will eliminate the need for Capello to choose between Joe Cole and Milner, one of the major selection decisions awaiting the manager on the morning of the match.

Milner has been kept apart from the squad and has not been on the safari trip or either of the golf excursions, the second of which took some of the players to the Lost City golf course in Sun City yesterday afternoon. He has suffered from a stomach virus that has meant he has lost some weight but he was understood to be feeling much better yesterday.

Although Capello claimed in a radio interview yesterday that he already had the team he expects to play against the US in his mind, those in his camp say that he is still turning over a number of options. The 4-4-2 formation with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in the centre remains the favoured option. The less likely 4-2-3-1 would probably require a fit Milner to play alongside Lampard as one of the two holding players.

The players had a relaxed day yesterday with no team meeting and a lot of free time at their disposal. Today they will get to see the 42,000-capacity Rustenburg stadium just a few miles from their Royal Bafokeng training base. Capello has also begun studying DVDs of the US team in preparation for making his final selection on team and tactics.

Having despaired of them on the night, Capello defended his players for their indifferent performance against the Platinum Stars on Monday. "In the last games we played I was upset because I didn't see that spirit on the pitch," he said. "But I understand the players because they saw on television that a lot of players were being injured in the friendly games. For this reason I think they missed tackles and got the ball back slowly. It was like soft training and I don't like that too much.

"With training here in our camp I saw everything in the training I wanted to see. We've improved from when we started in Austria [the pre-tournament training camp that began on 17 May] and we have improved a lot here. I'm sure that the game they will play versus the US they will be in a perfect situation physically and psychologically."

In the aftermath of Capello's outburst at photographers on Wednesday, the England manager said that there was nothing wrong with his state of mind. He said: "I'm relaxed. But I understand the pressure. In every moment we walk around and can see the security and the journalists. When we move on from here to go for golf or a safari we need police, a lot of police. It's a different moment.

"I can understand that it is a really, really important moment for football, important for the country. I hear the pressure and expectation from the fans. That is really important."

The Football Federation of Australia announced yesterday that it would concentrate its efforts on bidding for the 2022 World Cup instead of the 2018 tournament for which England is a contender.

Because both tournament venues are being selected in December, bidding nations were initially obliged to officially bid for both but it is has long been an open secret that Australia was targeting 2022. The 2018 World Cup finals will be staged in Europe with England's only remaining rivals the bids from Holland/Belgium; Spain/Portugal and Russia.

The Fifa president Sepp Blatter, 74, who has served since 1998, announced yesterday that he would stand for election for another four-year term. He is expected to run without a serious opponent.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam