Fabio Capello's plans for England's friendly against France on Wednesday were in disarray last night as John Terry, Ashley Cole and Gabriel Agbonlahor pulled out with injury, while the prospect of Andy Carroll also withdrawing looms today.
Capello's squad met at their Hertfordshire headquarters last night – apart from those playing yesterday – but already the England manager has been forced into three late call-ups. Carlton Cole is in the squad as cover for Carroll and Agbonlahor, and Gary Cahill and Stephen Warnock are the replacements for Terry and Cole.
Terry, who has not played for England since the August friendly against Hungary, missed Chelsea's Premier League defeat to Sunderland yesterday with a glute injury. Carlo Ancelotti said that the player pulled out of training on Saturday but should be back for Chelsea's next game against Birmingham at the weekend. The Capello camp have played down suggestions of a rift between them and the former England captain.
Ancelotti said that Terry had been suffering with the problem for some time. He said: "He [Terry] had control of it. He never missed a training session, but [on Saturday] the pain was more, so he was not able to play. But I think he can play the next game. It is a [recurring] injury, but he can control it. He has controlled it for 12 games. He's doing good prevention [sic], good treatment. Everything will be OK for him."
The Newcastle United striker Carroll travelled to Hertfordshire yesterday so that the Football Association's medical department could undertake a scan on his groin injury but it looks like the 21-year-old, who has made such an impression on the Premier League this season, will have to wait for his England debut.
Agbonlahor picked up an injury against Manchester United. With Cole also involved, for now Capello with five strikers, including Jay Bothroyd, the Championship striker who has scored 15 goals for Cardiff City this season. Bothroyd, 28, is one of four new faces in the team including Carroll, Jordan Henderson of Sunderland and Chris Smalling of Manchester United.
It is understood that Capello's general manager Franco Baldini phoned Kevin Davies to explain to the Bolton Wanderers captain why he was not being selected this time.
* For the friendly against France at Wembley on Wednesday:
Foster (Birmingham), Hart (Manchester City), Green (West Ham); Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), Cahill (Bolton), (Lescott, Richards (both Man City), Warnock (Aston Villa), Ferdinand, Smalling (both Manchester United); Walcott, Wilshere (both Arsenal), A Young (Aston Villa), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry, A Johnson, Milner (all Man City), Henderson (Sunderland); Bothroyd (Cardiff), Carroll (Newcastle), Crouch (Tottenham), C Cole (West Ham).