'Ridiculous' to blame Heskey for Rio injury

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The Independent Football

Tottenham's Michael Dawson, turfed out of the England squad five days ago, arrived to rejoin it as Rio Ferdinand's replacement yesterday, only to discover that two other centre-halves were unable to take part in his first training session.

Ledley King could only work in the gym and Matthew Upson was feverish. King is regarded as favourite to partner John Terry in Saturday's first group game against the United States as long as there are no further injuries in a friendly against a local side tomorrow.

Ferdinand has stayed with the squad after suffering the twisted knee that put him out of the tournament and may return home if he and Manchester United decide that is the best course. He is not expected to require an operation.

Frank Lampard insisted yesterday it would be "ridiculous" to demonise Emile Heskey for causing the injury. "It was just a freak, a twist and a fall at the same time," he said. "In fact, Rio told me he was pleased no one else was involved."

In their final warm-up game, the USA beat Australia 3-1.