McClaren hit with late England withdrawals

August 20, 2007

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has been ruled out of the England squad for Wednesday's international against Germany.

The midfielder, who played in his team's 1-1 Premier League draw against Chelsea on Sunday, was set to have an X-ray on his fractured toe on Monday.

The England medical team have been in constant liaison with staff at Anfield - and after assessing the scans it was decided Gerrard would not be fit to feature for his country on Wednesday.

Like Gerrard, Tottenham striker Darren Bent was not required to report for duty with the rest of the squad after similar contact between country and club resulted in the player missing out because of a thigh problem.

Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves and Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell were both also injury concerns - but were required to report to the team hotel.

However, after they were assessed by the England medical staff it was decided their respective knee and groin problems were significant enough to rule them out of contention.

One plus point for England boss Steve McClaren was the attendance of former England captain David Beckham at this afternoon's training session at London Colney.

The LA Galaxy midfielder had only just returned to England from the United States, but showed little sign of jetlag as he joined in training with other players.

The 32-year-old delighted several fans who had won a competition to attend the open session and also took some time out to chat with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

As well as the three goalkeepers, there were 13 outfield players of the remaining squad who took part in training, including strikers Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, as well as Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole.

However, the remaining players who were in action with their clubs yesterday did not take part outside and instead underwent a recovery session as expected.

Doubts had been raised as to whether Beckham could cope with the demanding schedule of jetting back across the Atlantic.

However, McClaren had every confidence the former England captain could take everything in his stride.

He explained: 'I think David can combine playing out there and coming here.

'I understand everyone's concern about that - but the proof will be not just in his performances but also in training.

'When we brought him back (last time) in the Monday training session, there was a lot of pressure on him and a lot of people looking.

'His performance in training got rid of the doubts.

'We will know that. That is what we assess. It is not just in games we look at him, it is in training as well.'