London, May 31 (IANS) England manager Fabio Capello has to make three key decisions – one in defence, one in midfield and one in attack – before finalising his 23 for the football World cup in South Africa.
The Daily Telegraph reported that in defence Capello appears to have settled on Leighton Baines ahead of Stephen Warnock to understudy Ashley Cole.
But the options further up the pitch are more complicated.
The daily reported that the England manager sets great store by what players do in training, not just matches, and sometimes he plays those he is unsure about to confirm his suspicions.
Capello, however, is undecided on Emile Heskey, Darren Bent and Jermain Defoe. Bent needed a convincing performance and a goal with, intriguingly, Capello considering him as an alternative to the out-of-form Defoe rather than Heskey.
It appears that Heskey will go along with Peter Crouch as the squad’s two ‘big’ strikers. Defoe should keep his place with Bent remaining a rank outsider.
Another question that is troubling the 64-year-old Italian is regarding, Joe Cole, Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips. Cole’s impact and bright display against Japan may have ended Johnson’s hopes and cemented his place.
Capello appears to have decided it is too early for Manchester City’s winger. His team-mate, Wright-Phillips, did well enough but may be one wide player too many, though Theo Walcott’s aimless performance raised question marks over his suitability. The main conclusion is that Cole definitely goes to South Africa.
On Michael Carrick, Tom Huddlestone and Scott Parker, Huddlestone still might make it but is now an outside shot, with Capello springing to Carrick’s defence even though he recognises the Manchester United midfielder is suffering a crisis of confidence. The only chance of a reprieve for Huddlestone would appear to be if Gareth Barry fails to make it.