Milner favourite to start on left with Cole and Carrick on bench

James Milner appears to have won his battle to be fit for England's opening fixture against the United States this evening and is likely to feature on the left side of a four-man midfield here, with Steven Gerrard resuming his central partnership with Frank Lampard.

Milner's stomach bug, picked up from Matthew Upson, left him feeling wretched on Tuesday, prevented him training on either Wednesday or Thursday and, only 48 hours ago, had left him 60/40 against (in the battle with Joe Cole) for a position on England's left flank. But the 24-year-old spoke with Fabio Capello on Thursday night, when the Aston Villa player told the coach he was ready for the World Cup opener. "He's fit, no problem. I spoke with him last night and he said he was ok. He was ill for one day and [didn't train for two]," Capello said.

Capello finally quashed any remaining prospect of Gareth Barry being able to line up for England's opening game, though he, too, looked mobile in training and will be on the bench – an outcome broadly in line with England's expectations when Capello first gambled on including him in his 30-man squad. "Barry is training three days, every day, normally," Capello said. "[He is] training hard. He's fit. He will be on the bench, not sure in the first XI." Barry looks like a possible starter in the second group game against Algeria in Cape Town on Friday.

Milner showed no signs of any fatigue during the 20-minute training session here last night, looking sharp as he brought one fine save from Robert Green during what Capello later described as the best session he had seen from his players in South Africa.

Milner's readiness seems to mean there is no place in the starting XI for Michael Carrick, though the Manchester United player is understood to have been central to Capello's thinking this week. Rather than starting with Joe Cole in Milner's absence, the combination Capello was mulling over revolved around a central midfield partnership of Carrick and Lampard, releasing Gerrard from the role down the England left, with which he has become familiar under Capello. The Italian is notorious for changing his mind at the last minute, though, and a role for Carrick cannot be entirely discounted.

Capello had Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey partnered in a brief, half-pitch training match last night, and Heskey, rather than Peter Crouch, appears to remain Capello's preferred option to operate with Rooney. Ledley King and John Terry were central defensive partners for the training match, in which King played a full part.

Though Capello reiterated last night that he knows his starting XI, goalkeepers Joe Hart and Green must wait until 5pm GMT today – two hours before kick-off – before they learn whether the manager has opted for Green's greater experience or has been won over by Hart's sharpness in training in South Africa. Though Hart certainly showed more evidence of his growing confidence last night, Green's experience may well prevail.

Capello dismissed suggestions that Rooney's temperament might be suspect going into the tournament, though he admitted he had spoken to the Manchester United striker about falling foul of the controversial Brazilian referee Carlos Simon today. "Rooney played in qualification, all the games, and had no problems with the referee. I hope it will be the same Rooney in the World Cup. I spoke with him.

"His aggression... is really strong [and] we have to be careful. We have to respect the referees. But he's spontaneous, not uneducated. He's instinctive and when he goes out onto the pitch he goes out to win. He's someone who gets angry when he's treated to something unfair. But he'll be fine for the World Cup."

Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum