England line up King as replacement if Ferdinand is ruled out

Fabio Capello has resolved to give Ledley King every chance possible to make the provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup finals when he announces it on 16 May, but he is still not certain whether he will be able to pick the injury-plagued Tottenham captain for his final squad.

The Capello camp are increasingly worried about the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and are exploring the possible permutations should the captain not be fit enough to go to South Africa on 2 June. King has figured prominently in discussions between Capello and his assistants and they are prepared to give the 29-year-old the maximum amount of time to prove himself.

King has been named in previous squads by Capello but has never been sufficiently fit to play. The defender's last cap was against Estonia in June 2007 under Steve McClaren. In the course of scouting Spurs' centre-back Michael Dawson as a possible World Cup squad contender, Capello has told his coaches that King has performed so well that it would be shame if they were to rule him out of contention.

King has not been informed that he will definitely be part of the England squad – simply because his inclusion will rely heavily upon whether Ferdinand is fit to play. King's chances of being picked will be reduced if it is decided that Ferdinand is fit to go because Capello cannot afford to take two defenders of dubious fitness.

There is also a sense in the England camp that they do not yet know for sure how suitable King would be to play tournament football, given his degenerative knee problem. The Tottenham manager, Harry Redknapp, has always said the player requires six days' rest between games but the England medical staff would like to make their own assessment.

King has made just 17 league appearances for Spurs this year – though that is six more than Ferdinand has managed for Manchester United. The situation is changing weekly for Capello, who has had to configure his defensive plans around the fitness of Ferdinand.

Another defender being scouted by Capello camp is Everton's Phil Jagielka, who returned in February from nine months out with a ruptured cruciate knee ligament. He made a slow start but has since made 11 appearances for his club and is now looking more like the player he was before the injury.

Initially concerned by his first few performances, the Capello camp now regard Jagielka, who has three caps for England, as cover for Wes Brown – not yet back after a broken foot – as he can play at right-back as well as centre-back.

Jagielka knows his lengthy absence leaves him with only an outside chance of boarding the plane to South Africa, but he is hoping he has played enough since his return to be in contention. "I'd like to, I've made no bones about that, but I don't pick the squads. I'll just have to wait and see what Mr Capello wants to do and go from there."

Capello is also waiting on the fitness of Joleon Lescott who, with 18 league appearances this season, has played only one more game than King.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones