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World Cup place for defender

Carragher to return to England squad

May 10, 2010
By Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

ESPNsoccernet understands that Jamie Carragher will be handed an England recall when Fabio Capello names his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad on Tuesday, though Joe Cole looks set to miss out completely.

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Jamie Carragher
GettyImagesJamie Carragher received a recall to England's squad for their unsuccessful trip to South Africa

Capello still faces a number of selection dilemmas, dependent on detailed medical reports to be examined on the morning of the announcement, with Gareth Barry thought to be one player the England boss is willing to risk despite his ankle injury.

There is good news too for Carragher, who has been convinced to return to the England fold after three-years of self-imposed international exile.

The Liverpool defender, who retired from international football in 2007, will be selected as cover for club team-mate Glen Johnson in the final 23-man squad, as well as offering an option in the middle should first-choice pairing Rio Ferdinand or John Terry be missing.

Manchester United full-back Gary Neville had been widely tipped for a recall but it is Carragher who gets the nod ahead of Wes Brown, because of the United defender's failure to prove his form and fitness since returning from injury.

An FA insider told Soccernet: "There is no real sense in going to all the trouble in naming him the 30 and then dropping him from the 23. There is no doubt within the England camp about how well he can do."

While Capello is willing to take a big risk with Barry, and is considering selecting Owen Hargreaves, the Italian boss won't want to take too many more injury risks, with Bobby Zamora unlikely to feature because of an ongoing Achilles problem.

Joe Cole's inclusion in the 30-man squad depends on whether Barry is ruled out after a last-minute fitness assessment, although Hargreaves is more likely to get the nod under those circumstances. Cole's only hope would be as possible cover on the wing, but Shaun Wright-Phillips and Adam Johnson have a stronger claim for selection.

Chelsea star Cole, one of England's most impressive performers at the World cup four years ago, is rated 60-40 against making it even into the 30-man squad.

Cole will be the biggest omission from the 30-man squad but in all probability he wouldn't make it into the final 23 anyway, with Capello seemingly happy to risk Barry because he is so vital to his team strategy.

The medical reports so far on Barry are inconclusive, suggesting that he will need a minimum of three weeks rehabilitation before he can resume training, meaning he might be fit for the final warm up game on May 30.

Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King are also likely to be risked despite ongoing injury worries, though Michael Dawson may be included as a fifth centre-back in order to provide adequate cover.

An FA source told Soccernet: "There have been a couple of things that need to be assessed on Tuesday morning. FIFA says the 30 has to be named on the May 11, but doesn't say what time.

"But all the big decisions will be made on Tuesday morning, as there won't be any need to delay much longer than midday, and announce the squad in the afternoon."