Tom Cleverley rues latest England setback

 

Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley has expressed his disappointment after yet again missing out on an England debut.

Cleverley would almost certainly have made his senior bow against Holland in August, but the match was called off due to the London riots.

Fabio Capello deemed the September Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales too important to let the 23-year-old loose, since when he has been struck down by injury.

Stuart Pearce picked him in his 25-man squad for Wednesday's rearranged encounter with the Dutch after only one game back in the United side.

But Cleverley is sidelined once more, this time by another ankle injury.

"Very disappointed not to be joining up with the England squad tonight," Cleverley wrote on Twitter.

"And again, it isn't a recurrence of the injury, it's the other leg."

It means Cleverley only has the pre-tournament friendlies against Norway and Belgium in which to stake a claim for a European Championship berth.

That is not Pearce's major problem though because, with Cleverley's United team-mate Wayne Rooney and Aston Villa's Darren Bent both ruled out, England are suffering from a major lack of firepower.

Just Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Frazier Campbell, who have only four caps between them, remain from the strikers Pearce originally selected.

The interim coach does have the option of selecting Steven Gerrard or Ashley Young in advanced attacking roles.

An alternative would be to draft in additional bodies, with Liverpool's Andy Carroll a more likely alternative than Peter Crouch, who scored for Stoke in their win over Swansea yesterday, and Jermain Defoe given the relatively youthful nature of Pearce's squad overall.

PA

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