Ljungberg and Beckham report fit for duty
Friday 31 May 2002
Given the acres of newsprint and hours of airtime which have been devoted to their injured players the three Swedes who, between them, manage England and Sweden, went to bed last night scarcely believing their luck.
Sven Goran Eriksson has at least 22 fit Englishmen to choose from, and possibly Kieron Dyer as well. Tommy Soderberg and Lars Lagerback, co-managers of his native team, England's first World Cup opponents, can choose from 23 fit Swedes.
Eriksson's captain, David Beckham, yesterday confirmed he was fit and ready to play all 90 minutes at Saitama on Sunday. Soon after, Sweden's main concern, Fredrik Ljungberg of Arsenal, was passed fit by the team doctor, Anders Valentin.
Ljungberg was taken to a hospital in Miyazaki on Wednesday night for assessment. It was, he said, "a nervous wait" for the results. To his relief they revealed his groin problem was "not serious".
"The groin still hurts in some situations," Ljungberg said. "But yesterday I was limping, today I can walk normally." Ljungberg is not in full training but added: "That is no problem. I'm not worried about my form."
Barring any reaction, the recoveries of Ljungberg and Beckham leave Dyer the only player with reason to be nervous about today's expiration of Fifa's squad deadline. Dyer, who looked sharp in training yesterday, will be told today by Eriksson if he is to be retained or replaced. The likelihood is that David Dunn and Alan Smith, who are on stand-by, can start their summer holidays.
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