The England striker Emile Heskey said yesterday that he still felt guilty for his part in the challenge that ended Rio Ferdinand's World Cup finals despite being forgiven by the England captain.
The Aston Villa man was being challenged by Ferdinand at the end of the squad's first training session on Friday when the incident took place. The damage to Ferdinand's knee was bad enough that he knew almost immediately that he would play no further part in the World Cup finals.
Heskey said: "It was difficult. What happened was that I tried to turn the ball round the corner and fell backwards on to him but his leg was in a position where he couldn't actually move it.
"There was nothing he could do but knowing he was out of the World Cup, when he was our captain and has been a great player through the years for England and for his club, and knowing that because of an incident between me and him he was out was disappointing. I spoke to him afterwards and he told me there was nothing I could do but it was still difficult."
Michael Carrick said that the Adidas Jabulani ball that has caused so much controversy in the build-up to the World Cup was even causing problems for outfield players. He said: "To be honest, it's not great. You just can't trust it really. You've seen some of the goals that have gone in. You set it off in one direction and it does its own thing and goes in another direction. Look at the goal China scored against France last weekend. That was unbelievable. It makes keepers look pretty silly – but what can you do?
"As a midfielder, you feel that once you play it wide and put air into it, it's anybody's guess what will happen. It's really light. You can hit five balls, think you've hit them all the same way but each of them will do different things. Of course, it is great for shooting. You feel that if you can hit the shot on target it is going to give the keeper problems, but in general play it's proving pretty difficult."
The United States striker Jozy Altidore has won his battle to be fit to face England in Rustenburg. Altidore missed the 3-1 win over Australia at the weekend in a friendly international in Johannesburg while recovering from an ankle problem but is now fit.Reuse content