Capello loses Heskey through injury, trims squad by six more players
3 Februry 2008
LONDON – England coach Fabio Capello lost Emile Heskey through injury and also cut six more players from his squad to face Switzerland.
Wigan striker Heskey has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game at Wembley with what Latics manager Steve Bruce described as a damaged nerve.
Capello also withdrew Aston Villa defender Curtis Davies, Tottenham centerback Ledley King, Portsmouth right back Glen Johnson, Reading left back Nicky Shorey, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick and Middlesbrough left winger Stewart Downing from his initial squad of 30.
Of the 23 who remain, five will be in action on Sunday when Newcastle hosts Middlesbrough and Aston Villa goes to Fulham.
“I want to be clear that the players who have not made the squad this time are still part of my plans,” said Capello, who overlooked former captain David Beckham because the Los Angeles Galaxy star has not played a competitive game for three months. “We will be monitoring the form of everyone very closely as we work towards the competitive matches which start in September.”
The Italian also said that, although he will name a captain for the friendly against the Swiss, he might not necessarily be the man who leads England at the World Cup qualifying games which start in September.
“I plan to name a captain for the Switzerland game on Tuesday but I don’t expect to appoint a permanent captain until we start the qualifying games,” said the highly successful former AC Milan, AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid coach. “I want to work closely with the players before deciding on this.
“I’m looking forward to working with them on the training ground. There is a lot of work to do but I am ready for the challenge. We have seven months to prepare for our first competitive match, but the work really starts now.”
The England players will assemble on Monday at Arsenal’s training center north of London.
[Copyright ap 2008]