Fabio Capello will be monitoring the Cardiff City striker Jay Bothroyd ahead of England's friendly against France this month, with his options severely restricted by the probable absence of Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe, as well as Bobby Zamora.
The 28-year-old is a long shot for a start against Laurent Blanc's side a week next Wednesday as Capello remains to be convinced that he is a striker of international standard, despite his 10 goals for Cardiff this season, which makes him the Championship's lead scorer. Bothroyd's manager Dave Jones has repeatedly suggested that Capello or his general manager Franco Baldini make a visit to south Wales to see the player, who will evidently have to show the Italians that he has developed since his two-year stint at Perugia, where he moved from Coventry in 2003.
It is understood that Capello remembers Bothroyd from that time, though needs to be persuaded that he is more than a Championship-standard player. Kevin Davies' call-up against Montenegro last month puts another striker ahead of Bothroyd, while Darren Bent, missing in that qualifier, is also back.
However, Bothroyd's touch, pace and ability to hold the ball up, as well as his goals, have earned him praise this season. The question mark where he is concerned was always his workrate – as Jones admits. But he will not be able to press his claim this weekend as he is suspended for the south Wales derby against Swansea City on Sunday having picked up five yellow cards this season.
Capello is also monitoring the progress of Sunderland's England Under-21 midfielder Jordan Henderson, a player he is understood to be keen on, and a place for him in the squad to face France cannot be ruled out. Baldini watched Henderson play in the Tyne-Wear derby at St James' Park last weekend and the 20-year-old's manager Steve Bruce has described him as "the brightest young prospect in the British game; the best young British footballer there is". The 6ft 2in midfielder has versatility and his game will be complete if he adds goals to it. But playing week-in, week-out in the Premier League is clearly helping his development and Stuart Pearce has been impressed with his contribution for the Under-21s.
Newcastle striker Andy Carroll also had a point to make to Baldini in last Sunday's derby but his progress has been hampered by off-field issues and it is unclear whether Capello, who omitted him against Montenegro, is ready to include him this time. Rooney is unlikely to be available, despite Sir Alex Ferguson asserting this week that he is ahead of schedule in his latest recovery from an ankle injury and has done some jogging work. Defoe is making a faster recovery than expected from ankle surgery and hopes to return to club action tomorrow week when Blackburn visit Spurs, but fitness for England looks unlikely.Reuse content