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Capello to make Spain Decisions

Sports - February 05, 2008

Fabio Capello is set to decide his squad for the friendly with Spain next Wednesday on February 11. The Italian will be without Defoe, Gerrard and Owen for the trip to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, with Rooney’s fitness also in doubt.

Steven Gerrard has been ruled out after picking up a hamstring tear in Liverpool’s mid-week clash with Everton. Tottenham forward Jermain Defoe is out with a broken foot, whilst Newcastle skipper Michael Owen is also injured.

The decision on Wayne Rooney’s fitness will be made by Capello, not Sir Alex Ferguson. Manchester United forward Rooney, is currently on the comeback from a hamstring injury picked up against Wigan.

“I have not spoken to Fabio but I hope to do so in order to explain the situation,” said Ferguson.

“He can then decide after dialogue with the physios whether it is worth taking Wayne to Seville.

“I have no strong issue with that. It is a question of whether he would play or be a substitute, which is the same position as I am in.
 
“It is up to Fabio. I really have no strong objection to that.”

The injuries leave England slightly short of options up front, and, having scored four goals in six games so far this year, West Ham United manager Gianfranco Zola believes Carlton Cole is ready for the call.

Zola said: “I hope he is considered because he is a very good player and he is not yet at the top of his game.

“He can still improve. He is working hard every day and getting more confident and if he plays for England it will be good for him and for England.”

Other forwards who have shown good form of late include Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor, Portsmouth’s Peter Crouch, Tottenham’s Darren Bent and Fulham’s pair of Andrew Johnson and Bobby Zamora.

The friendly could also mark David Beckham’s 108th cap for England after making a big impact at Serie A giants AC Milan. If the 33 year-old features next Wednesday, he will equal Bobby Moore’s record of 108 appearances.

Capello hinted at a recall for the man on loan from LA Galaxy, explaining: “He is a media star and for this reason all the fans spoke about him in this way before he arrived; like a star not a player.

“But now he has played three games, and every game has been better.”

Beckham is not the only player the England manager has been impressed by. Capello says Theo Walcott is England’s best talent.

“Theo Walcott is our best talent. He has impressed me very much,” Capello said at the LMA President’s dinner in London.

“He was not always playing for his club and sometimes only came on at half-time but though he was so young he played without fear.”

Capello also says England’s lack of technique is down to the weather.

He explained: “It isn’t easy because the weather isn’t the best in the world if you want to improve technique.

“You need sun. We have to work more on technique in the academies and do more for young players.”

Despite his worries about England’s technique, the Italian believes England will be strong in Spain.

“I’m very interested in this game because Spain play fantastic football, very quick. But we are strong and I think England will be strong in Spain.

“I am very confident in my team, I have big confidence.”

The European Champions have called up five players from England, and all are from Liverpool. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called on Pepe Reina, Alvaro Arbeloa, Xabi Alonso, Albert Riera and Fernando Torres to face England.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez hopes the Spanish management will be considerate when it comes to his player’s involvement in the game.

“There is no point worrying about him (Torres) playing for Spain next week because we know he will be selected, whatever we say,” said Benitez.

“The Spanish manager has tried to contact me, but we missed each other. But we will talk.
 
“We have been speaking to the Spanish squad’s fitness coach, so they know the situation.

“They know our players are involved in a lot of games now and they will take care of them.”

 

Spain Squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool).

Defenders: Raul Albiol (Valencia), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Alvaro Arbeloa (Liverpool), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Juan Gutierrez (Real Betis), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Liverpool), Albert Riera (Liverpool), Sergi Busquets (Barcelona), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal), Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Valencia).

Forwards: Daniel Guiza (Fenerbahce), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia).

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