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England squad hit by withdrawals; Gerrard, Crouch, Foster and Agbonlahor out

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By: Na 06 Feb 2011 23:00:06

England squad hit by withdrawals; Gerrard, Crouch, Foster and Agbonlahor out

Fabio Capello lost four members of his squad - including captain elect Steven Gerrard - to force a drastic revision of England's plans to face Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Gerrard, along with Ben Foster and Peter Crouch, reported to England's HQ in Watford on Sunday evening but were released after their fitness was checked. In addition, Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor informed Capello he would not be linking up with the England party due to personal reasons.

Although Capello had named 25 players on Saturday night in the hope of covering all eventualities, he did require reinforcements and West Ham duo Robert Green and Carlton Cole were called up.

The up-shot of the changes were that Frank Lampard looks certain to be named England skipper for the first time, whilst Fulham's David Stockdale could be elevated to first-choice back-up to number one keeper Joe Hart.

Twenty-four hours after Rio Ferdinand suffered a calf injury in the warm-up before Manchester United's shock defeat at Wolves, Gerrard aggravated a groin problem during Liverpool's win at Chelsea.

It means Fabio Capello will be without his captain and vice-captain for a game he views as vital preparation for next month's Euro 2012 qualifier in Wales.

With John Terry ruled out on the grounds he had the job taken off him as a disciplinary measure by Capello 12 months ago, the only two plausible options are Lampard and Wayne Rooney.

The striker actually did the job in a friendly loss to Brazil in Doha last season but Lampard was the man who Capello nominated as his vice-captain when Ferdinand pulled out of the World Cup, so it would be a major surprise if he was not handed the role for the first time from the start of his 84th cap.

Gerrard's absence might also mean a change in role for Jack Wilshere.

Capello had earmarked the 19-year-old for a midfield holding role. But with a more offensive vacancy now on offer, Wilshere may be allowed to move further forward, unless the England boss opts to deploy a more orthodox wide player on the left, having already stated an intention to pair Rooney with Darren Bent in attack.


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