Injuries change the face of the England squad


6th, February 2007


Steve ‘Malcolm’ McClaren
plans to use the 4-3-3 formation that was used against Holland in the 1-1 draw in November. However, he might have a bit of a problem with Wayne Rooney looking crocked.

His other options look a bit ropey too following the withdrawal of Everton’s Andrew ‘I didn’t dive honest’ Johnson. The England gaffer has tentitively pencilled Rooney, Kieron Dyer and Aaron Lennon in to form his attacking trio. Peter Crouch will be rubbing his spidery hands in glee as he looks most likely to start should Rooney be injured.

As is par for the course with England friendlies, players are pulling out left, right and centre with rumours of one player being in a coma with a broken eye-lash, and another being on a life support machine after cutting his finger nails a bit short…

One of the players pulling out is Wayne Bridge who looked a dead cert to replace
his Chelsea team-mate, Ashley Cole, at left-back. Bridge has strained his thigh which is not only rubbish news for England, but for the Stamford Oilers who are sweating over his scan results.

Predictably, Phil Neville was handed Bridge’s first-team
training bib instead of the impressive Gareth Barry.
McClaren’s options to experiment have been hampered by the withdrawal of
goalkeeper Chris Kirkland. His shoulder knock leaves just two keepers in the squad, so the it is likely that we’ll see Ben
Foster making an international debut in the second-half of the game.

Owen Hargreaves returned at the weekend for Bayern Munich, but won’t feature tonight as his leg his sore. Well, he did break it three months ago so we mustn’t grumble too much. Taking his place is a man who may well be fighting him for a place in the ManYoo line-up in the future. Michael
Carrick will hold the midfield, and after some impressive performances this season, it will be interesting to see how he fares when played with stand-in
skipper Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.
Jonathan Woodgate, will be paired with Rio Ferdinand in the centre of defence. Hopefully we’ll get to see Joey Barton in an England shirt. Barton could kick a few arses in our prima-donna midfield, and hopefully he’ll perform well and break up our predictable picks in the middle of the park.

England (squad):

Robinson (Tottenham), Foster (Watford)

Gary Neville (Man Utd), Phil Neville (Everton), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), Woodgate (Middlesbrough), Terry (Chelsea), Carragher (Liverpool), Dawson (Tottenham), Richards (Man City)

Lennon (Tottenham), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Carrick (Man Utd), Downing (Midd’boro), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Parker (Newcastle), Lampard (Chelsea), Barry (Aston Villa), Barton (Man City), Dyer (Newcastle)

Rooney (Man Utd), Crouch (Liverpool), Defoe (Tottenham).

[Mof Gimmers]

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