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No Ferdinand for England

02 Oct 2011 21:05:37

No Ferdinand for England

England will head into their Euro 2012 showdown with Montenegro without two of their most experienced players after Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard were both left out of Fabio Capello's squad.

The Three Lions need a draw in Podgorica on Friday to book their place at next summer's European Championship finals. And Capello has decided they can achieve that mission without two men who have amassed a combined total of 167 caps.

Gerrard had already said he did not believe he was fit enough to be involved after only just recovering from a groin injury. However, Ferdinand was expected to be included after shaking off the hamstring strain he suffered at West Brom in August.

Jermain Defoe and Joleon Lescott have lost their places, with Bobby Zamora and Scott Carson recalled to a 24-man squad. Zamora's only cap came in a friendly against Hungary in August last year, after which he was sidelined after suffering a broken leg the following month.

He did return as a substitute for the June qualifier with Switzerland but did not play. Now 30, Zamora was bizarrely cited by Capello as one of the young players on which England's future rested following their woeful World Cup performance.

It does seem he has an international future under the Italian, although the presence of Manchester United's Danny Welbeck in a five-strong striking line-up that also includes Aston Villa's Darren Bent provides stiff competition in the quest to partner Wayne Rooney.

As expected, Ashley Young was picked despite being left out of Manchester United's win over Norwich on Saturday with an ankle injury.

Ferdinand started that match on the bench, which might have played a part in Capello's decision. However, after starting the previous two games against Stoke and Basle, questions must now be asked about the extent to which Ferdinand now figures in Capello's plans.

Gary Cahill started alongside skipper John Terry for the recent matches against Bulgaria and Wales and the Bolton man retains his place, as does Ferdinand's blossoming United team-mate Phil Jones.

With Chris Smalling, like Tom Cleverley and Robert Green, ruled out through injury, a vacancy exists at right-back and the recalled Kyle Walker didn't do his chances of keeping out Micah Richards any harm by lashing home the winner for Tottenham in front of Capello in Sunday afternoon's north London derby.


PA

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