Terry plays down worries over foot injury but Capello still has cause for final concern

Defender declares himself fit to face Portsmouth but manager will be anxious over Wembley occasion
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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello will have an difficult wait this weekend to see if John Terry comes through the FA Cup final unscathed after the Chelsea captain yesterday declared himself fit to play in Saturday's game following a major injury scare.

In a dramatic few hours yesterday, news leaked that the defender had been taken from Chelsea's Cobham training ground for a scan on his right foot with the worst-case scenario a broken metatarsal. Terry landed heavily after jumping for a header and after the scan was fitted with a protective boot as a precaution.

Last night the England defender released a statement to say that he was fit and could even train today with his Chelsea team-mates. However, the Capello camp are still fearful that Terry could make matters worse by playing this weekend. The player has assured Capello's assistants that there is no danger of long-term damage and he is fit to play.

Terry said: "I took a slight knock in training but with such an important match on Saturday the right course of action was to put a protective boot on my right foot and have a CT scan. The scan has shown there is no break and I am hoping to train [today] if not Friday and of course play in the FA Cup final on Saturday."

Despite Terry's assurances that he is not seriously hurt, there are still worries about the player who has not always been the best judge of his own fitness. The problem for Capello is that he can afford no more injured players among his central defenders.

The England manager has already picked Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King in his 30-man provisional squad which was named on Tuesday. There are major doubts as to whether King's chronic knee problems will stand up to the rigours of tournament football. Ferdinand has played just 13 league games this season and is still struggling with problems that originate in his back.

Terry has a history of playing through injuries until the problem becomes acute. He had to have surgery in December 2006 to remedy bulges on a sequestrated disc in his back. In October 2007 he delayed surgery to remove a piece of floating bone in his knee that eventually ruled him out of England's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Russia and Croatia.

In addition he has suffered fractures to his foot on two occasions. In July 2007 he broke a toe in a pre-season match. Five months later he broke three bones in his right foot in a challenge on Cesc Fabregas. This season his injury record has been much better, playing all but one of Chelsea's 38 league games in their title-winning campaign.

As well as injury problems, Capello has warned his players that he will not tolerate them taking part in transfer negotiations during their time in

South Africa. Steven Gerrard admitted in his autobiography that his deliberations over whether to join Chelsea during Euro 2004 affected his performances on the pitch.

Capello said: "This [players getting distracted by transfers] is one of the problems. I hope the players who are with us in South Africa do not change the team or have negotiations. It disturbs the players all the time. You have to stay focused on the game and the competition."

The Blackburn Rovers manager, Sam Allardyce, became the first Premier League manager to break rank and criticise Capello over his squad selection. Allardyce said the Italian must have a personal grudge against goalkeeper Paul Robinson not to take him among his three goalkeepers.

Allardyce said: "I am staggered totally. It is completely the wrong decision. If you look at his form for Rovers, there has not been a better goalkeeper who has been so consistent. It clearly can't be anything else then Fabio has something else against him, because he has always said the people in form would get selected.

"There is nobody better than Paul Robinson at the moment, so there must be something before that that has happened to put him off him as a person and not as a goalkeeper. He has made the biggest mistake of his selection process has Fabio. As much as I respect him for what he has done that is one big, big mistake."

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