Bulgaria v England

Terry urges Capello to pick United trio

September 1, 2011
By ESPN staff

England captain John Terry has urged Fabio Capello to throw Manchester United trio Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones straight into the starting XI for key Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales.

John Terry leads the England players in training
GettyImagesJohn Terry leads the England players in training

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Following United's storming start to the season, which has included an 8-2 demolition of Arsenal, Capello has drafted in the starlets for the matches in Sofia and at Wembley.

Smalling looks likely to come in at right-back in the absence of Glen Johnson, while Jones could be preferred to Joleon Lescott as a partner for Terry. With Jack Wilshere not in the squad due to injury, Cleverley may be entrusted with the playmaking duties in central midfield, a role he has performed with distinction at Old Trafford this season.

"They have come into the set-up and felt very assured - and rightly so because they are huge talents. They have got an awful lot to give," Terry said. "You don't go into the Manchester United side if you are not ready and they have showed some great individual performances.

"Clearly they are ready, I don't think age comes into it at all - you need to be given opportunities in life."

Meanwhile, Capello has expressed relief that the Bulgaria fixture on Friday is away from Wembley, a ground where he believes the players can succumb to fear. "Sometimes the players find it difficult to play against teams but away we can play with more space and attack that space with fast players. Sometimes we play better away from home," he said.

The Italian is also hoping Owen Hargreaves can rediscover his fitness and form at Manchester City. Hargreaves, 30, completed a surprise free transfer to City on Wednesday after he parted company with rivals Manchester United at the end of last season.

The former Bayern Munich midfielder has struggled desperately with injuries in recent times, playing just 11 minutes of first-team football in two years, but Roberto Mancini clearly believes he can recover his fitness and Capello is also hopeful.

"I hope he will be fit because he was an important player for England and played really well,'' Capello said. "I hope he will be really good in the short-term for Manchester City and also for England. After the knee problems, he didn't play for two years. We need to wait."