Capello waits on fitness of 'captain' Lampard with Rooney in the wings
England coach to assess Chelsea midfielder's fitness / Rooney fourth choice to take armband against Denmark
Tuesday 08 February 2011
Fabio Capello will wait until after this morning's training session to decide whether Frank Lampard will play against Denmark tomorrow, opening the possibility that Wayne Rooney could captain the side in the absence of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard.
Lampard is the next in line after Ferdinand and Gerrard, both missing with injury, but there are concerns that he might not be ready to start, having made a relatively slow return to action with Chelsea after a long injury lay-off. That would mean Rooney would reprise the captain's role that he fulfilled in November 2009 against Brazil in the friendly played in Qatar.
Capello's squad has been beset with withdrawals, although he requested that Gerrard, Peter Crouch and Ben Foster all report to the team's Grove Hotel base in Hertfordshire on Sunday night to be checked by the Football Association medical staff. In all three cases the FA was satisfied that the three could not be expected to play in Copenhagen.
The England Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce was critical yesterday of the effect the international calendar has on calling up players to represent their country. This came as the Fifa president, Sepp Blatter, appeared to back down over proposals to play the 2022 World Cup in the winter in Qatar, which would cause huge disruption to the European domestic calendar.
At the Parken Stadium tomorrow England will play under the closed roof and it is hoped that conditions will be more comfortable than might usually be expected in Denmark's freezing temperatures at this time of the year.
The England left-back Ashley Cole, who can break Kenny Sansom's record as the most capped full-back in the history of the national team tomorrow, was voted the England fans' player of the year for 2010 yesterday and admitted that the booing he was subjected to at Wembley during the victory over Kazakhstan in October 2009 was "personal".
"I think it's hard because every player makes a mistake on the pitch. But I don't think it was about that mistake, I think it was a more personal thing so it hurt me even more. But every time I put on an England shirt I try my hardest, I want to win, and I think in voting me player of the year the fans are starting to see that. I just want to play for my country and do everything I can to win.
"Looking back, I think I had a great season, I won the league and the FA Cup and I was in the Uefa team of the season, and now this award. For me it was a great year and I hope I can carry on getting caps and playing well for England. Hopefully, trying to win something for England and progressing further than we have in the past.
"I want to play as long as I can for England, at the minute I'm level with a left-back [Sansom] who was an idol of mine and a great player. To hopefully take over that record [tomorrow] would be a great achievement."
Michael Dawson, a contender to partner John Terry in the centre of defence tomorrow, said yesterday that he feared he could miss the whole season when he was injured playing for England against Bulgaria in September. Recalling the incident, the Tottenham Hotspur player said: "The evening started well when I walked out and sang the national anthem and then, after 60 minutes, I got a bad injury.
"It looked a lot worse at the time and everyone was saying to be prepared for eight months – the whole season. Fortunately, it was only three months but it felt like I did my knee and ankle at the same time. Everyone thought it was my cruciate but, thankfully, it wasn't. The ankle was worse and it became swollen and I could not get rid of it but that is all in the past. I have played lots of games for Spurs and am now looking forward to Denmark."
Arsenal lead the way in withdrawing players from international duty:
Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey (Wales, precautionary); Johan Djourou (Switzerland, knee); Cesc Fabregas (Spain, gastro-enteritis); Robin van Persie (Netherlands, flu).
Aston Villa: Gabriel Agbonlahor (England, personal reasons).
Birmingham City: Ben Foster (England, thumb)
Fulham: Aaron Hughes (Northern Ireland, back and hamstring).
Liverpool: Steven Gerrard (England, groin).
Manchester City: Nigel de Jong (Netherlands, ankle)
Manchester Utd: Darren Fletcher (Scotland, ankle and eye socket)
Newcastle Utd: Leon Best (Ireland, hamstring)
Tottenham: Peter Crouch (England, back); Rafael van der Vaart (Netherlands, calf muscle)
West Bromwich: Graeme Dorrans (Scotland, ankle)
West Ham: Robbie Keane (Republic of Ireland, calf)
Wigan: James McCarthy (Republic of Ireland, precautionary)
Wolves: David Edwards (Wales, ankle).
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