Carragher comes in from the cold to join Fab 30

England delight at defender's U-turn but Barry faces race against time and Huddlestone is put on standby

Upmarket travel agents can look forward to some downbeat telephone calls on Tuesday as footballers who find themselves missing from Fabio Capello's list of 30 contenders for a World Cup place sort out a holiday in the sun instead. The fortunate 30 know they will be involved in a fortnight's training at altitude in Austria starting a week tomorrow plus friendlies against Mexico (Wembley, 24 May) and Japan (Graz, 30 May) before seven of them are told that they too can go on holiday next month.

It is a tricky period, above all, for those who have been injured and know they are suddenly running out of time. Consider, for instance, Manchester City's Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott, regulars in the squad who have suffered an injury at just the wrong time. Lescott has not played for two months, though he insists there is still hope of making the squad. "I am back training with the team, so I am pleased with that," he said. "I have only trained three or four days, but I don't see any problems fitness-wise. It will be down to Fabio if I've done enough already. Obviously he hasn't seen me for six or seven weeks so it will be down to whether I have done enough previously."

Capello's ruling on injured players that "if it's two weeks, then no" does not bode well for those like Lescott or Barry, who would need at least that length of time to become fully fit. The same applies to the Manchester United pair Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves, even though the head coach has ruled neither out yet ahead of the final selection meeting with his coaches tomorrow morning. Both are valued for their versatility, but short of being picked against Stoke today and having a blinder, it is difficult to see either making it. Hence the England camp's delight that Jamie Carragher, who prefers to play in central defence but could fill in at full-back or as a defensive midfielder, is prepared to return to international football after three years' absence.

That is one bonus. The other is Fifa's clarification that any player not on the original list of 30 could still be brought in up until 24 hours before the first game if anyone else suffers "serious injury". The ruling would apply to goalkeepers, which means it should only be necessary to name three, not four, on Tuesday, freeing up an extra space for an outfield player. As England will want to give Barry as long as possible to recover, despite their own doctor's pessimistic diagnosis, he could be named with Tottenham's Tom Huddlestone coming in as the latest graduate from Stuart Pearce's Under-21s.

If Capello has had things relatively easy for the past 18 months, ever since England set up their qualification for the finals by winning in Croatia, it is now time to earn his money. There are hard decisions to be made, complicated by the fact that, as usual at the end of an English season, players are weary and injuries are niggling. The Italian has already become the latest England manager to point out the benefits of a midwinter break, doubtless as vainly as all of his predecessors.

While a lucky few have run into form, far more are out of sorts or out of their respective teams. It is just as well that for the vast majority of candidates, today marks the last competitive game. Five will still be involved in the FA Cup final on the pitch that ended Michael Owen's season, and Bobby Zamora may not even make Fulham's Europa League final on Wednesday, but it suits Capello well enough, though he may not admit it, to have no English club in the Champions' League final.

Zamora will be a gamble and along with Carlton Cole can consider himself fortunate if he makes the 30 ahead of Darren Bent, who, like West Ham's Scott Parker, needed to make more of earlier, brief international opportunities. The other interesting position, which will remain so for a while yet, is the right side of midfield where Manchester City's Adam Johnson has to hope Capello shares Roberto Mancini's faith in playing him ahead of Shaun Wright-Phillips.

Possible squad of 30 James (Portsmouth), Green (West Ham), Hart (Birmingham); Johnson (Liverpool), Carragher (Liverpool), Ferdinand (Manchester Utd), Terry (Chelsea), Upson (West Ham), King (Tottenham), Dawson (Tottenham), A Cole (Chelsea), Baines (Everton); Lennon (Tottenham), Walcott (Arsenal), Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Milner (Aston Villa), J Cole (Chelsea), Johnson (Manchester City), Young (Aston Villa); Lampard (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Manchester City), Carrick (Manchester Utd), Huddlestone (Tottenham); Rooney (Manchester Utd), Crouch (Tottenham), Heskey (Aston Villa), Defoe (Tottenham), Cole (West Ham), Zamora (Fulham).

Key dates Friendlies: England v Mexico, Mon 24 May, 8pm kick-off (Wembley). England v Japan, Sun 30 May, 1.15pm (Graz, Austria). World Cup group stages: England v USA, Sat 12 June, 7.30pm (Rustenburg). England v Algeria, Fri 18 June, 7.30pm (Cape Town). England v Slovenia, Wed 23 June, 3pm (Port Elizabeth).

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice