England Squad Beset By Injuries Ahead Of Midweek Friendly Against France

On Saturday, England coach Fabio Capello named his 23-man squad for Wednesday's friendly against France. Almost immediately, the Hand of Fate (out of respect to England fans, I will not refer to a different Hand) intervened. Before Capello named his squad, he'd mentioned that he would give a run-out to different players and include both youngsters and those previously uncapped for his country.

So when Capello decided to include eight players that had been part of England's disappointing World Cup performance in South Africa, Fate took matters into its own hands. Chelsea players John Terry and Ashley Cole, who have well over 100 caps between them, were ruled out through injury. Defenders Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers) and Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa) have been called up to take their place. The two have but two caps between them and Cahill, in particular, deserves a chance to fight aging defenders for a place in the Three Lions.

However, Fate takes no sides in the ever-raging youth versus experience debate, and it also claimed two of England's bright young stars, trice-capped Aston Villa forward Gabriel Agbonlahor and never-before-capped Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. Capello clearly saw this as a signal that youth is overrated, and elected to call up Carlton Cole, the 27-year-old West Ham striker who has one goal on the season. To be fair to Capello, he's almost out of options: Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora are all out injured. But if Capello truly wanted to give youth a chance-keep in mind that this is a friendly, not a game that actually matters-he could have called up Daniel Sturridge (Chelsea), Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), or Danny Welbeck (Sunderland), all young strikers who have also scored once in league play this season.

Full England squad:

Foster (Birmingham), Hart (Man City), Green (West Ham); Cahill (Bolton), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), Lescott (Man City), Richards (Man City), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Smalling (Man Utd) Warnock (Aston Villa); Walcott (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal), Young (Aston Villa), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Man City), Johnson (Man City), Milner (Man City), Henderson (Sunderland); Bothroyd (Cardiff), Crouch (Tottenham), Cole (West Ham).

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