IRDNING, AUSTRIA - MAY 19: Fabio Capello gestures during an England training session on May 19, 2010 in Irdning, Austria. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

England Squad Beset By Injuries Ahead Of Midweek Friendly Against France

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Joe Hart Ruled Out Of Goal For Today's England Match Against France

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart has pulled out of England's friendly against France due to a back injury, which he sustained in training on Tuesday. Hart was unable to properly stand as he made his way out of the stadium, and although manager Fabio Capello had hoped the injury would ease later in the day, the keeper has now been sent back to his club for treatment. Watford keeper Scott Loach has been called up to replace him.

After England's infamous goalkeeping gaffe against the United States at the World Cup this summer, Hart, who was on the bench during the tournament, has been a stalwart for the Three Lions. While Hart spent last season on loan with Birmingham City, he's been back in Manchester this season, with his solid performance in goal helping the Citizens into fourth place in the Premier League.

Ben Foster, who has stepped into Hart's boots and taken on the starting role for Birmingham this season, will replace him in goal against France.

 

But really, the question on everyone's mind is: Perhaps Joe injured himself not in training, but in demonstrating his spectacular dance moves?


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Andy Carroll Fit To Play In England Friendly Against France; Striker's Personal Struggles Do Not Bother Fabio Capello

While Newcastle striker Andy Carroll sat out yesterday's England training session, his injury was ruled to be "slight" and he will start for the Three Lions in Wednesday's friendly against France. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere is headed back to Arsenal, an injury keeping him out of the match, and the fitness of Phil Jagielka and Joe Hart will be determined. Everton defender Jagielka has the flu, but will likely be fine for Wednesday, while Manchester City goalkeeper Hart will be examined after being pulled from training for a back problem.

As injuries for England continue to mount, the news that Carroll has recovered from a groin injury must cheer supporters somewhat. The Magpies man may still be struggling to overcome difficulties in his private life, including the assault charge filed against him last month, but coach Fabio Capello is not concerned, stating that the attention Carroll will receive from the media will help him improve.

Considering Capello stripped John Terry of the captain's armband last year for allegations surrounding his private life, one has to wonder why the England manager has changed his tune. Perhaps because he has no choice, given the number of injuries England face?

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7500 To Holte: 'Grow A Spine, Capello' And Call In More Youth

Don Fabio Capello has been said to inspire fear in his players, yet he can't scare a set of U.S.-based Aston Villa bloggers, one of whom has taken issue with the England manager's call-ups for team's upcoming friendly against France.

While implying the venerable Italian lacks a part of his skeleton, 7500 to Holte's Kirsten Schlewitz notes that the few baby faces being brought into the Three Lions set-up haven't made for that young of a squad:

Average age: 25 1/4 years. Which I suppose is young, but in the life of a footballer? That's about prime, I'd guess. But I sincerely question some of these decisions. What's the point of Gareth Barry? Are there really no better central midfielders in England? Do we really need to see more of John Terry, and has Capello actually watched much of John Terry this season?
Grow a spine, Capello. Your inclusion of two youngsters with no caps, and two with one, doesn't show me that you've actually managed to find your backbone. It's time to take a chance. It's called a friendly for a reason.

People have derided Capello's job performance ever since England struggled through this summer's World Cup, but Kirsten finally puts those problems in the appropriate context. As she notes, Capello is missing a major part of his central nervous system. In that light, titles in Italy and Spain are remarkable. Yes, a proper vertebrate may be a better fit for the England managerial position, but some would say the FA hasn't appointed one of those since Kevin Keegan in 1999. And it's not like that worked out well.

There's much more to Kirsten's piece, which you'll want to check out at 7500 to Holte, SB Nation's Aston Villa blog.

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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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