Capello warns Carroll to get fit or risk missing out on England place


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Fabio Capello has warned Andy Carroll he has to get himself into shape before he can be considered a potential England starter, ahead of tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales at Wembley.

Carroll, 22, who was left out of Liverpool's last match against Bolton, is highly rated by Capello but was not even on the bench for Friday's 3-0 victory over Bulgaria. With Darren Bent withdrawing from the squad yesterday with a groin problem the England manager has a decision to make as to whether Carroll will be promoted to the bench for tomorrow's game.

Capello said: "He [Carroll] needs to find good form. All the players do. I chose 25 players and decided that the first XI would be the players who were, for me, in the best moment of form. Andy didn't play the last game with Liverpool and probably he is not at the top. Also he is big. He needs to play games, games, games. It's the start of the season.

"In this moment, some players are really good and run a lot. In the last 20 minutes [on Friday] we had everything - ball possession, chances to score, because we were fresh. We were winning 3-0 but we were fresh. When these players, like [Frank] Lampard, like Andy, will be fit, at the top of their form, they will be important."

Capello is considering a recall for Lampard for tomorrow's game just four days after the England manager left the midfielder out of the team against Bulgaria – the first time Lampard had been dropped for a competitive England match in four years.

Capello is concerned that a booking for either Gareth Barry or Scott Parker at Wembley will mean they are suspended for the final Group G qualification match against Montenegro in Podgorica next month – from which England will need a point to be sure of qualification if they beat Wales.

The 33-year-old Chelsea midfielder is in contention to start as one of the two holding midfielders tomorrow and will be judged according to his form with his club side, Capello believes. Certainly the England manager will be without Jack Wilshere for the game against Montenegro on 7 October after the 19-year-old confirmed yesterday that his right ankle injury means that he will be out for up to three months.

Wilshere tweeted: "I can confirm I will be out for around 2-3 months! [sic] I am working hard in the gym to stay fit and I am gutted but I will be back stronger!" Later, in a radio interview with Arsenal legend Ian Wright, he said that he would not rush back.

Wilshere said: "They [Arsenal] are not pushing me at all to be fair. I spoke to the manager and he just said for me to take my time and come back when I'm ready because there is no point in me coming back and then having another six weeks out.

"It's massively frustrating. It's even more frustrating as I had a successful season and felt I could really push on. I've had a bit of a setback but I'm still feeling good about the season and hopefully I'll be back as soon as possible.

"It's frustrating not to be playing [against Bulgaria] but we did really well and [Wayne] Rooney was unbelievable. There's not a player in this country anywhere near his level and I think England have to use that like the Spanish players do. Use him as our main player and push off on him."

With his team closing in on Euro 2012 qualification, Capello has said Carroll needs to improve his personal fitness if he is to play a part in the national team's future, including next summer in Poland and Ukraine – providing they qualify. Carroll was not even on the bench for Friday's win in Sofia. With Bent going home yesterday with a groin problem, it will be interesting to see whether Capello selects the £35m striker among his substitutes tomorrow.

The Manchester City right-back Micah Richards also withdrew from the England squad last night to go back to his club for treatment on a groin problem. The rest of the squad trained on Saturday and the players were given the afternoon off to play golf. They were back in training yesterday although the day's events left Wayne Rooney underwhelmed. He tweeted: "In [England] hotel longest day ever [sic]. The Office USA is getting me through the day."