Andy Carroll could be withdrawn from the England starting XI after a request from Newcastle United.
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Andy Carroll’s dream England debut has been cast into doubt after Newcastle sent an e-mail to the Football Association expressing their concern about the player’s fitness.
Fabio Capello’s announcement on Tuesday lunchtime that Carroll would start in Wednesday’s friendly against France at Wembley set alarm bells ringing at St James’ Park.
The Magpies are not convinced Carroll has fully recovered from a groin injury he sustained against Fulham on Saturday and sent a message to that effect to the FA on Tuesday afternoon.
There has been no official public response from the FA, and there is unlikely to be one before Capello unveils his starting line-up an hour before kick-off.
Capello was aware of Carroll’s groin injury on Sunday evening and kept him out of training on Monday, believing the player would eventually be ruled out. However, after the striker reported an easing of the problem, Carroll was sent for a scan, the results of which were assessed by the England team medical staff.
They were sufficiently satisfied to clear Carroll to train on Tuesday and the player came through a full session without any discomfort.
Given his history as a club manager and the knowledge that Carroll could become a key part of his plans for Euro 2012 qualification, Capello is unlikely to do anything that would risk the player’s fitness, or antagonise his club.
It is understood the Magpies’ missive stopped short of asking for the Gateshead-born front man to be withdrawn, but rather urged caution with him. (Press Association Sport)
Why is it that when a team gets a series of players injured, they always seem to be in the same position?
Chelsea are suffering a similar crisis in central defence to that of Manchester United in the middle of last season. England meanwhile have no strikers.
Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, and Darren Bent are the best goalscorers England have, with Andy Carroll currently playing himself into that category. What are the chances of all of them be injured at once?
Apparently quite high.
Should Andy Carroll be sent back to his club, England will choose from Peter Crouch, Carlton Cole and Jay Bothroyd up front. The first two of those have one Premier League goal each this season, while Bothroyd is a Championship player. He is undoubtedly in good form, but Capello is unlikely to throw him in at the deep end.
None of those are particularly enticing options, especially as with Crouch likely to get the nod, England’s style of play will inevitably change to launching the ball at his head.
Perhaps Fabio Capello should try playing none of them.
England don’t have the players to test a surprisingly effective strikerless formation akin to that of AS Roma circa 2005-2007, but when the Giallorossi first used it it was because they were suffering from a similar catalogue of injuries.
They also don’t have a versatile player able to play between the lines as Francesco Totti, with Ashley Young being the most likely candidate to fulfil the role.
Of course, this will never happen.
I am just playing devil’s advocate given the paucity of options, and because I know exactly how England will play tonight.
There are encouraging signs of a new generation of England players. Joe Hart, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Nedum Onuoha, Jack Wilshere, Jordan Henderson, Jack Rodwell, Marc Albrighton, Adam Johnson, and Andy Carroll would be a decent young team, with established stars such as Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard likely to replace some of them in the starting XI to ease in potential.
However, only a few of those will be available tonight, and thus it is difficult to see what will be learned against France at Wembley.
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