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Capello to risk England stars

2010-06-06 10:03
England defender Michael Dawson who replaces injured Rio Ferdinand. (AP)

Rustenburg - Despite losing Rio Ferdinand to a tournament-ending injury in training, England coach Fabio Capello has no plans to rest key players for the team's final World Cup training match.

Video: Steven Gerrard on the first SWC match against USA

England takes on South African Premier League side the Platinum Stars - who are based near its Rustenburg training camp - on Monday, with Capello keen to observe his planned starters for Saturday's World Cup opener against the United States.

"I have to play all the players that will play against the U.S.A. for 45 minutes or 60 minutes," Capello said. "I don't know if it is a major risk. I touch wood. We have to be careful about injuries but we have to prepare for that game.

"I know what can happen (with injuries), but that is the job. What do you do? Swim and not play? You have to train. Sometimes you try to be careful and it still doesn't work."

Monday's friendly is the last chance for Capello to test a new central defensive partner for John Terry in a match environment following Ferdinand's knee injury on Friday.

Capello's options are Ledley King, Jamie Carragher, Matthew Upson, who missed training again Sunday with a high temperature and was restricted to gym work, or Michael Dawson, who was flown to South Africa as a replacement for Ferdinand.

Key players like new captain Steven Gerrard and striker Wayne Rooney could have been rested for Monday's match at the Moruleng Stadium, but Capello needs to see the whole team working together before facing the Americans.

Midfielder Frank Lampard, though, will take a more cautious approach against the Platinum Stars in the wake of Ferdinand's injury.

"You have to be quite intelligent about the game," Lampard said. "You can be full-blooded to an extent without trying to put yourself at risk. The Rio injury was a freak that could have happened in training like it did, or in a match against anybody.

"As a group, we won't be flying into ridiculous tackles, but there will be an emphasis put on getting close to people and working as a team to get tight on the opposition. Once the tournament starts, you can't let players have time. We'll be working on that, rather than full contact, I'd expect."
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