Crouch and Agbonlahor to lead attack
England boss Fabio Capello plans to give Gabriel Agbonlahor and Peter Crouch their chance to impress in tonight's World Cup qualifier against Belarus at Wembley.
With a place at South Africa next summer secured, Capello will experiment with systems, including a look at playing with two strikers rather than fielding Wayne Rooney off Emile Heskey.
"The two forwards will be Crouch and Agbonlahor," Capello confirmed.
Rooney has played all nine of Capello's competitive matches but has a calf strain for the 10th and is joined on the sidelines by Steven Gerrard, whose groin complaint has given the Italian another reason to audition fringe players in the dead rubber.
Capello needs his players comfortable with "plan A, B, C", which on this occasion means being without Rooney, just like Sven-Goran Eriksson was for an hour against Portugal at the quarter-finals of the last World Cup.
Against the same opponents at the same stage of the European Championships two years earlier, Rooney limped off after 26 minutes and England were defeated on penalties - so Capello is aware there needs to be an alternative way to success.
"We need to play other styles, style A, B, C," he said. "It depends on the opposition and the style of the game we need to play. We played always more or less the same style in all the games we've played.
"Sometimes, during the friendly games, we've changed it. But we need to practise other styles. I want to see some players in different positions."
Rob Green is suspended after his red card against Ukraine at the weekend, but David James' return has been complicated by a knee complaint. The Portsmouth goalkeeper will need a late fitness test.
Gerrard's absence could give James Milner an opportunity on the left wing, Agbonlahor and Crouch will lead the attack, while Rio Ferdinand will get the chance to atone for his mistake in Dnipropetrovsk that led to Green's dismissal.
Capello has talked to Ferdinand about his error and insists he has total confidence in the Manchester United centre-back.
"I spoke with Rio, on Monday and this morning, and I will speak also with some other players," Capello said. "We will see the DVD of the game to understand what happened, and I will see the mistakes.
"I spoke with him about the moment, and different things. It was only about the last game. He's a good man, a big man, an important player for England and United."
Despite backing Ferdinand, Capello has stressed there are no "untouchables" in his squad - Gareth Barry was dropped against Ukraine and David Beckham did not make the bench.
Capello, explaining why Beckham did not make the matchday squad, said: "He arrived and was tired in training. I spoke to him in training and asked why you are not good? He has got better."
Beckham was looking to impress at Arsenal's London Colney on the eve of the Belarus clash, with James missing the session and Gerrard heading to the dressing room after starting in a 10-v-10 practice match.
Eager to avoid a row with Liverpool, Capello added: "He decided to stay here (after playing against Ukraine). We asked him what he thought, and he thought he'd be fit. If he'd not been fit, he'd have gone home."
Gerrard will be among the players invited to watch the match in a Wembley box, with all those involved in the current qualifiers offered the chance for a get-together.
Some players may not make the trip, depending on training schedules, and they will not be paraded at half-time - that will be done by the England Women's Under-19 and Senior teams after their recent success.
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