Steven Gerrard ruled out of Belarus clash as England's injury woes mount
13 October 2009 05:07
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England's injury woes deepened today as Steven Gerrard was ruled out of the match with Belarus.
The Liverpool skipper was withdrawn from training on Tuesday after aggravating the groin strain picked up in Saturday's defeat to Ukraine.
David James is now also doubtful for Wednesday's game at Wembley after failing to train because of a knee injury.
Gerrard, who was forced off at half-time onSaturday, limped out of training early on to beassessed by physio Gary Lewin. Boss Fabio Capello later confirmed that the midfielder will now return to Liverpool.
'He didn't finish training because the pain was the same as yesterday,' said Capello. 'He's going back to Liverpool.'
Portsmouth veteran James skipped the entire session, increasing Capello's goalkeeping problems.
James was expected to replace the suspended Robert Green for Wednesday's dead rubber with Belarus at Wembley.
Handed a chance: David James was earmarked to start at Wembley
However, the 39-year-old missed the latest preparations ahead of England's final World Cup qualifying match.
'He had some problems with his knee,' said Capello. 'He's getting better, he'll stay with us and tomorrow we'll decide. I will speak with him tomorrow.
'The other players are fit. There are some little problems but not so big to be a problem.'
The news is a blow for boss Capello, who is keen to assess James after Green's red card in Ukraine on Saturday.
The West Ham keeper, who has been England's No 1 in recent months, misses the Belarus clash and must now fear for his dream of starting at next summer's World Cup.
If James fails to prove his fitness ahead of Wednesday night, Capello will turn to either Manchester United's Ben Foster or Joe Hart, who is on on at Birmingham from Manchester City.