Crocked Rio misses Slovakia clash

28 March 2009 05:15
Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out of England's friendly with Slovakia after picking up a back injury, while David Beckham starts on the bench.The Manchester United defender had been expected to partner John Terry at the heart of the Three Lions defence but instead coach Fabio Capello introduced Matthew Upson, who has started three of England's last four games prior to Saturday evening's contest.As predicted, Capello went for Aaron Lennon to plug the vacancy on the right side of midfield, created by the absence of Shaun Wright-Phillips who, like Ferdinand, is hoping to be fit for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine after failing to train this week due to an ankle injury.It meant Beckham was on the bench as he looks for the 109th cap that would see him appear for his country more times than any other outfield player, eclipsing the record of legendary former skipper Bobby Moore.Emile Heskey was picked ahead of Carlton Cole to play as main striker, with the support expected to be supplied by Wayne Rooney.With Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard operating in central midfield, it meant Steven Gerrard was handed a roving role from the left, the same as he had on his last appearance in Belarus last October.England team to play Slovakia at Wembley:James; Johnson, Cole, Upson, Terry; Lennon, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard; Heskey, Rooney.

Source: Eurosport