Dawson in but Fabio will struggle to build Bridges

Neville and Zamora to make 30-man squad as time runs out for City left-back

Manchester City's Wayne Bridge has one more week to make himself available for this summer's World Cup squad before Fabio Capello pencils in the list of 30 names that must be submitted to Fifa a fortnight on Tuesday. Capello is prepared to wait until the start of next week for a definite decision on whether Bridge (who limped off injured at Arsenal last night) can bring himself to share hotels and dressing-rooms with his former friend and captain John Terry, who is alleged to have had an affair with Bridge's former girlfriend. There is no sign, however, that the normally mild-mannered Bridge is inclined to change his stance.

Even in a week's time it would be wise for England's head coach to use pencil rather than ink for his provisional list. His mantra has always been that players need to be fit and playing regularly, but at present almost a third of the contenders are not fulfilling one or other of those requirements. There is frustration, too, that the 30 names must be faxed the day before the Europa League final, which could involve Liverpool and Fulham, and four days before the FA Cup final between Chelsea and Portsmouth, which features five England players.

Further injuries in the run-in are always possible, at a stage when there is insufficient time for serious ones to heal properly; it was this week four years ago that Wayne Rooney crumpled to the turf at Stamford Bridge with a broken metatarsal, and England's talisman was missing at Old Trafford yesterday with a groin injury which will keep him out for "two to three weeks", according to his club manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Where England are unusual is that with no friendlies from 3 March to 24 May, there are at least four players under consideration who have not even been in the squad all season. Two are comparative old-stagers not seen since 2007, Gary Neville and Ledley King, and two are new faces, Michael Dawson and Bobby Zamora.

In Neville's case, vast experience (85 caps and five major tournaments) has to be balanced against a decline in pace that could be exposed by faster and younger opponents, as Bayern Munich's Franck Ribéry demonstrated recently. United team-mate Wes Brown failed to nail down the right-back position at Old Trafford during Neville's long absence and has only just resumed training after suffering the metatarsal curse. Brown's advantage, like another absentee, Joleon Lescott, is that he can cover full-back as well as another area beset by problems, central defence. Rio Ferdinand's injury problems and John Terry's form are of equal concern and have brought Everton's Phil Jagielka and Dawson into the picture.

The other great question, which will surely have to be answered in the negative, is whether Ledley King – restricted to one game a week and virtually no training at Tottenham – can be taken to a tournament in which England's fixture schedule, if successful, would run Saturday-Friday-Wednesday-Saturday. Capello, a great admirer of the Spurs man, will conclude that his inclusion is impossible if there are any doubts about another central defender's fitness, which will almost certainly be the case.

Ashley Cole's proposed return for Chelsea today will be carefully monitored, as will the performance of the Everton left-back Leighton Baines against Fulham. Baines and Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock will contest the role as Cole's understudy, assuming that Bridge is not in contention.

The one area of the team where names for the final 23 can confidently be written down today is goalkeeper. David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart will go barring injury. With James involved in the Cup final, a stand-by will be required for the list; presumably Blackburn's Paul Robinson.

Midfield offers an abundance of wide players and a reliable clutch of central ones that could be augmented by James Milner or Joe Cole if injury struck. Aaron Lennon, first choice on the right until a 16-week absence which ended yesterday, must prove he can recover his speed and vim, as Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips have been best used as impact subs.

Fulham's Zamora, once thought to lack international quality and still hardly prolific in the Premier League (eight goals this season), is still pushing the inconsistent Carlton Cole for what may be a fifth striker's spot in South Africa. Emile Heskey's role at Villa appears to be as a late (often very late) substitute for John Carew, and Peter Crouch is being squeezed out at Tottenham by a rejuvenated Roman Pavlyuchenko.

No wonder Rooney appears to be stooping at times; the weight of a nation's hopes is pressing down more heavily than ever on his shoulders.

Squad (probable): James (Portsmouth), Green (West Ham), Hart (Birmingham), Robinson (Blackburn); Johnson (Liverpool), Neville (Manchester Utd), Ferdinand (Manchester Utd), Terry (Chelsea), Upson (West Ham), Brown (Manchester Utd), Lescott (Everton), Dawson (Tottenham), A Cole (Chelsea), Baines (Everton); Lennon (Tottenham), Walcott (Arsenal), Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Milner (Aston Villa), J Cole (Chelsea), Young (Aston Villa); Lampard (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Manchester City), Carrick (Manchester United); Rooney (Manchester United), Crouch (Tottenham), Heskey (Aston Villa), Defoe (Tottenham), Cole (West Ham), Zamora (Fulham).

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
News
i100
News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
News
i100
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?