Keegan expects England to perform

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The Independent Online

Kevin Keegan has vowed his squad will be fully fit and motivated for Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Germany.

Kevin Keegan has vowed his squad will be fully fit and motivated for Saturday's crucial World Cup qualifier against Germany.

The England coach said Wembley, hosting its last international, was the perfect stage for his players to perform.

But he admitted he will change the strike force that was so successful in getting a 1-1 draw with World Champions France in Paris last month.

Manchester United's Andy Cole and then substitute Michael Owen played up-front alone.

He said: "It's the last game at Wembley and I don't have to say what a big game it is.

"I think it will be very easy to motivate them for this game. In Euro 2000, the performances were poor but the motivation was not lacking."

And he added: "It was a great performance against France, but I think you can probably guess we won't just play one up against Germany.

"You need experienced players but if the question was will I be afraid to throw in one of the youngsters, then the answer is 'no' - and that includes Joe (Cole)."

David Beckham, Graeme Le Saux, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Andy Cole, Rio Ferdinand and Emile Heskey did not train today as Keegan allowed players involved in Premiership action on Sunday to rest.

But he expects them to return to training tomorrow and is confident he will have the luxury of being able to select from his full 27-man squad for the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Keegan said he expected most if not all the squad to train tomorrow and that Newcastle midfielder Kieron Dyer should shake off a knock picked up at the weekend.

He said: "The feeling was at first it would be a bad injury and he would probably be doubtful for the game.

"The medical people and, more importantly, Kieron himself were very upbeat and there's a very good chance I should have 27 players to pick the 22 from."

After Beckham was booked in Manchester United's 1-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday, Keegan reiterated he was happy to have the midfielder as his vice-captain.

"I think he leads by example - the way he plays, the appetite he has got for football. He's not one of these players who goes out to satisfy his ego," he said.

"I think he has got the temperament, I think one day he will be England captain. If not for me then for someone else."

Among the squad is 19-year-old West Ham midfielder Joe Cole, who Keegan insists is ready for the challenge.

Keegan said: "I think he can bring something different to us - he's the sort of player who can change the game. He can score a goal, create something out of nothing, his stamina's good and he's here and he's ready.

"He has been able to have a good pre-season. When he had a broken leg last season he was able to work on other parts of his fitness which sometimes when you are young you neglect.

"The last time he came in he knew he couldn't be selected. This time he has a chance of being one the 22 involved against Germany."

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