John Terry and Ashley Cole did not take part in England's open training session yesterday, creating further doubts about whether Roy Hodgson will be able to call on them against France on Monday.
Terry is carrying a hamstring injury and there are conflicting versions of why Cole has been below par this week. He is said to have had a stomach bug, but he is also thought to be carrying the ankle injury which limits his potential to train after games.
Cole managed only two laps of the field at England's training camp at the home of local team Hutnik FC, before he left the arena with Terry. Yesterday was always intended to be a light session, after an intensive 80-minute routine on Thursday.
Hodgson provided evidence that he intends to us the width of the pitch more against the French than in either of his warm-up matches in a 20-minute routine which saw Stewart Downing – a contender for the left wing in Donetsk's Donbass Arena –being encouraged to link with Leighton Baines to fire crosses in. "Get the crosses in," Hodgson told the pair. "Little one-twos and overlaps."
Danny Welbeck is the firm favourite to start with Ashley Young on Monday, though Andy Carroll was paired with Young and Wayne Rooney with Welbeck in yesterday's attacking work-outs. However, the Liverpool striker looked out of touch. The Football Association said yesterday that Jermain Defoe would return to the England camp today in readiness for the game against France.
Sir Trevor Brooking said after Uefa and the Dutch Football Association had confirmed the racist abuse of the Netherlands' players at a training session othat abuse is "something that might occur" in England's games. It's something Uefa has to do deal with," Brooking said.