There was a fresh twist to the John Terry saga last night when it emerged that Everton defender Phil Jagielka will have to pull out of the England squad tomorrow, putting pressure on Fabio Capello to pick his captain in Saturday's game against Spain at Wembley.
Jagielka has been playing with a hairline fracture to a toe and has required painkilling injections to get through games. Although his form has been good for his club, and Capello is happy with him, the expectation is that the 29-year-old will report for duty at the England hotel on the basis that the medical staff will examine him and send him home.
That will leave Capello with just four central defenders including Terry with Phil Jones expected to play right-back and potentially even central midfield against Sweden in the second friendly a week today. It pushes the England manager closer to a situation where he may have no choice but to start one of the games with Terry, the subject of a police investigation into allegations of racist abuse.
Thus far, Capello has indicated that he will rest Terry for the Spain game and play him against Sweden. Although that decision was made "for football reasons" unrelated to the allegations concerning Terry and Anton Ferdinand it also had the useful function of taking Terry out of the spotlight. As captain he would have been expected to speak to the press on Friday.
Bringing Terry into the team for Saturday would not be a straightforward decision. However, given that Capello said that the sole basis for resting him was a football decision it would be hard for him to exclude the player if the injury crisis worsened.
The Football Association is still awaiting the results of the investigation by the Metropolitan Police into allegations that Terry racially abused Ferdinand during Chelsea's game at Loftus Road on 23 October. It is understood that the police will interview Ferdinand today. For the FA, the sooner the police act, the better.
Frank Lampard yesterday was the first England player to talk about the Terry incident. He said: "You have to get used to off-field situations like this– it comes with the terrority. What you need to do is try and keep out of whatever controversy it is.
"You must remember it's what happens on the pitch that's the most important. That's what most people react to and that's what I will keep trying to do for club and country."
The FA has written to Fifa appealing for them to reconsider their decision not to allow the England team to have poppies sewn into their shirts for Saturday's game. Fifa blocked the request because "regulations regarding players' equipment are that they should not carry any political, religious or commercial messages".
The Welsh FA has also requested Fifa allow its players to wear poppies for their friendly against Norway in Cardiff.
England's players will visit the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp during next year's European Championship finals in which they will be based in the Polish city of Krakow. The FA is keen for the squad to "embrace and engage with" local culture and history when they travel to Poland next summer in a marked change of approach to the one adopted in South Africa for the last World Cup.
England isolated themselves in a five-star resort in Rustenburg, a set-up that was widely criticised from both within and without the camp. It led to a rethink for next summer with England basing themselves at the Hotel Stary in the centre of Krakow and training on the edge of the city at a local club. Players will be encouraged to explore the city in their free time – and not have to wear official England gear when doing so. "We are going to be doing things very, very differently," said Adrian Bevington, managing director of Club England.Reuse content