Fabio Capello faces a dilemma over whether to play Phil Jagielka against Spain on Saturday with his club, Everton, previously working on the understanding that the defender, who has a broken toe, would be rested for the two friendlies over the next five days.
Capello is limited as to his options in central defence, having said that he plans to rest John Terry for the match against Spain, which has the added benefit of taking the England captain out of the firing line with allegations of racial abuse against him. Everton are powerless to stop Jagielka joining up because he has been playing for them with the help of painkilling injections.
The 29-year-old has a hairline fracture of his toe and expected to join up last night with the England squad and then withdraw this morning, having been examined by the FA's medical department. However, it now appears that Capello is minded to play him alongside his former Everton team-mate Joleon Lescott in Saturday's game at Wembley and then send him home before Tuesday's game against Sweden.
Ideally, Everton would like the player to come back to them for treatment this week but they accept their case is weakened because they have been playing Jagielka, who has been ever-present for them in the league this season.
The player himself is understood to be reluctant to withdraw. He missed the World Cup finals last year because he did not recover his form in time to be selected after a long recuperation from a cruciate knee ligament injury. He will play if he is asked because he does not want to miss out on the squad for next summer's Euro 2012.
The problem is intensified because of the unusual position surrounding Terry. The FA is awaiting the outcome of a police investigation into allegations that he racially abused the Queen's Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's game against Chelsea at Loftus Road on 23 October. It means that Capello has fewer options in central defence, despite having selected five for that role in his original squad.
The rest of the squad met up at the Grove Hotel in Hertfordshire last night, with Terry among them. They will train for the first time this morning at Arsenal's London Colney headquarters with the expectation that the issue will once again be the focus when the players speak to the media in the afternoon.
The dispute over whether England can wear poppies on their shirts for Saturday's game, which falls before Remembrance Sunday, was resolved last night when Fifa said it would permit players to wear them on black armbands.
The decision came after a day in which Prince William and the Prime Minister David Cameron both petitioned the world governing body to change its mind. Fifa had previously refused on the basis that the rules forbid any national team to wear political or religious symbols on their shirts.
The FA said: "The FA welcomes Fifa's decision and thanks them for agreeing to this. While continuing to adhere to the laws of the game, wearing the poppy on the armband does ensure it will be visible throughout the game."Reuse content