Capello to give Carroll lead role
Published 22/03/2011 | 05:00
Fabio Capello will start his four days of preparation for Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales today with the intention of partnering Liverpool striker Andy Carroll with Wayne Rooney in attack for England.
The Capello camp have been warned by Kenny Dalglish that his £35m striker is not yet back to full fitness after his thigh injury but, having watched him against Sunderland on Sunday, they believe that Carroll is ready to start against Wales.
It remains a gamble on a player who has played just once before for the senior team, against France in November.
It will also mean leaving out Peter Crouch, whose goalscoring record for England, not to mention his international experience, would suggest that he is the better option at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. However, Capello's intention is to go with Carroll if he is convinced that the player is fit to play.
The England squad will fly to Cardiff on Friday rather than drive the 120 miles from their base in Hertfordshire to Wales. It is anticipated that the stadium's roof will be open for the game.
It was shut for the Six Nations game between England and Wales in February. In order for it to be closed on Saturday, both managers would have to acquiesce.
Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson became the first England player to speak about John Terry's reinstatement as captain and -- to no one's surprise -- refused to be drawn into the debate as to the merits of Capello's decision.
"What has gone on has nothing to do with anyone," said Johnson, who will have the tricky task of marking Gareth Bale on Saturday. "John Terry has been a fantastic captain for Chelsea and England. I am sure he will carry on doing the same job. Obviously Rio will be upset to lose the armband. But he is a big man and he will pick himself up and get on with it.
"I don't think it will be a divisive issue. Everyone is a professional and they will go about their job in the right way. I am sure everyone will be fine."
England new boy Matt Jarvis intends to win over Capello on the training pitch after receiving his first call from the Italian.
The Wolves winger was delighted with his inclusion in the squad for Saturday's qualifier and next week's friendly against Ghana. But he hopes to be more than a passenger in the 26-man party, and was determined to make an impression as he prepared to join up with his new international team-mates.
"It's great for me and I'm delighted. It will be a case of meeting up and aiming to impress," Jarvis said.
"I've just got to do as well as I can in training and see if I can impress to get some time on the pitch."
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy has predicted Jarvis will be "a breath of fresh air" in the England squad. (© Independent News Service)