injured duo report to capello

Gerrard travels to be assessed by FA doctors

November 16, 2008

England pair John Terry and Steven Gerrard reported for duty tonight ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Germany even though there are major injury doubts over both men.

Gerrard has already been ruled out, according to a statement on Liverpool`s website, after suffering a minor groin injury at Bolton yesterday.

But England coach Fabio Capello still made him travel to the team`s base in Watford, where he will be assessed by Football Association medical staff before a final decision on Gerrard's availability is reached.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is unlikely to be impressed with that but under FIFA rules Capello is perfectly entitled to have a look at the Reds captain, who would be an automatic choice to face the Germans if he was fit.

At least Terry does not have far to travel, although having stated on Saturday he was experiencing a lot of pain from the foot injury he sustained at West Brom, it was thought the Three Lions skipper would not be involved either.

However, the 28-year-old had a scan earlier today and the results made him feel it was worthwhile travelling to meet Capello, so at the very least, he must be rated less doubtful than Gerrard.

Terry's presence would be invaluable as without him, the captain's armband would presumably be handed to Frank Lampard or Gareth Barry who, with the exception of David James and Theo Walcott, are the only other members of what constitues England's first-choice side to remain involved.

Even Capello's plans for experimentation are being hit following the loss of Manchester City Joe Hart, who had been expected to win his second cap, possibly as a substitute.

Hart was replaced after sustaining an ankle injury trying to keep out Daniel Cousin's opener in the 2-2 draw at Hull, a blow that could keep the 20-year-old out for a month.

''He will have to be seen by our medical people,'' said City boss Mark Hughes.

''Missing England is a blow to Joe but more importantly, the injury is a blow to us because we have some key games coming up.''

However, Hart's loss is Paul Robinson's gain.

The former England number one, who lost his place to Scott Carson after a dire performance in the crucial Euro 2008 qualifying defeat against Russia was called into Capello's squad tonight.

While both James and Carson would be viewed as more obvious candidates to play in Berlin, England's first visit to the city to play a unified German side since a controversial trip in 1938, Robinson's inclusion above the competing claims of Ben Foster and Robert Green should at least provide the Blackburn man with a confidence boost.

Having stated he did not want to disrupt a settled formula by bringing in too many new faces, Capello now finds himself with little option.

However, of the completely untested members of his squad, Gabriel Agbonlahor seems more likely to start than Michael Mancienne, who would become the first Coca-Cola Championship player to win a senior cap since David Nugent, then of Preston, scored against Andorra in March last year.