England v Ghana: Why Wembley showdown is more than just a friendly

29 March 2011 12:54
The absence of England's A-listers takes an edge from the game but Fabio Capello can learn more on Tuesday night than he normally does from a friendly international.

What more does he need to know about Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard or Rio Ferdinand?

Capello often refers to the 'weight' of the England shirt and how it can stifle players. With Ghana ranked 16 in the world (100 places above Wales) and 20,000 away fans promising to generate a vibrant atmosphere, this will be a stern test for those hoping to impress Capello.

Leading the line: Liverpool frontman Carroll is set to start for England against Ghana

Andy Carroll Ever since Capello watched Carroll's rampaging display for Newcastle at Arsenal in November, the Italian has been itching to get him into the team.

The Geordie made his England debut against France, 10 days later, but had been nursing a groin strain and his first cap was marred by a row between the FA and Newcastle about whether he should be risked. His second call-up came after a ?35million move to Liverpool and 10 weeks out with a thigh injury and Capello decided Carroll was not ready to start against Wales.

Carroll has all the attributes to be England's centre forward for many years, a huge physical presence, capable of spearheading a 4-3-3 formation.

Forward thinking: Rooney was deployed on the left against Wales

4-3-3 Having sprung a surprise in Cardiff by abandoning his trusty 4-4-2 and urging his players to be more like Barcelona, Capello will stick with 4-3-3 for this friendly. He will hope for further encouragement that it is the way forward, against a team with fluent movement and good technique.

He will also want more evidence that he has someone capable of anchoring the midfield and able to fill the holes when the full backs push forward.

Welcome back: Everton defender Leighton Baines was harshly treated ahead of the World Cup

Leighton Baines Unfairly treated ahead of last year's World Cup, when Capello took two nervy displays in friendlies against Egypt and Mexico together with a story which claimed he was homesick during the training camp in Austria and axed him from the final squad of 23.

Stephen Warnock, of Aston Villa, got the nod but did not play, due to Ashley Cole's consistent brilliance. But Baines, 26, has responded this season to prove he is the Chelsea full back's rightful deputy.

The Everton left back has been in outstanding form, with his crosses proving a potent weapon for his club and he can also bring dead-ball excellence to the England team. Capello will demand to see evidence that the jitters have gone and that he feels at home on the international stage. At the moment, he has the edge over Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs - but the manager will be watching closely.

Time to impress: Cahill is set to line up in defence for England against Ghana on Tuesday night

Gary CahillPoised for his first start after a terrific spell of form at Bolton. Cahill looks set to join a Champions League club in the summer and many believe the 25-year-old will develop into a world-class central defender.

He is powerful in the air and strong in the tackle yet is comfortable on the ball, an important asset for Capello because so many teams are willing to concede possession when they play England.

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 Explore more:People: John Terry, Fabio Capello, Ashley Cole, Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard Places: Newcastle, Cardiff, Barcelona, Liverpool, Egypt, France, United Kingdom, Austria, Ghana, Wales, Mexico

Source: Daily_Mail