Capello in fitness warning
Fabio Capello has warned Michael Owen and Ledley King they need to prove their fitness if they are to make his World Cup squad.
Last Updated: 03/10/09 10:20pm
England coach Fabio Capello has warned Michael Owen and Ledley King they need to prove their fitness if they are to make his World Cup squad.
Tottenham defender King and Manchester United striker Michael Owen will be missing from the squad for the final two World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and Belarus because of injury.
King is struggling with a hamstring injury, while Owen picked up a groin injury in front of the onlooking Capello during United's UEFA Champions League game with Wolfsburg in midweek.
King and Owen's chances of going to South Africa next year look slim with King unable to play matches in quick succession due to a chronic knee condition, while Owen is well down the pecking order in Capello's plans.
"I arrived at the last moment in Manchester to see him [Owen]," Capello said. "The knee of Ledley King is another problem, for Tottenham, for (Spurs manager Harry) Redknapp, for me. If he's fit he's OK, he's one of the best centre-backs.
"When I select a player, I expect a player to play every game, not wait 10 days to play another game. He has to be fit, this is the problem, always, every game, every training, every day."
Capello revealed he will play his strongest side against Ukraine despite the fact England have already qualified for the World Cup.
However, Capello will give some of the players on the fringes a chance to impress in the next two games with the Italian having been impressed by Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, Sunderland's Darren Bent and Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick in recent weeks.
"It's possible that some new players will play in one of the next two games," added Capello. "I'm not sure if it will be the first or the second.
"I will play with the best players 100 per cent in the first half as always. The second half it's possible I will make some subs.
"They are not friendly games, they are not experimental games. We have to continue what we have done in qualification.
"Agbonlahor is young and sometimes you have to wait for young players to get a bit more confidence. But he is in a good moment. Darren is also scoring a lot of goals and I saw him against Chelsea and he played very well.
"Carrick was with us when we played Croatia. He is playing very well and (will) probably start one of the two games."