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Fearless Eng ready for Algeria

2010-06-17 13:29
England captain Steven Gerrard. (AFP)

Cape Town - England are in a combative mood ahead of their must-win World Cup encounter with Algeria on Friday, with the return of Gareth Barry a boost to their confidence.

Fabio Capello's superstar team go into the Group C game in Cape Town under far more pressure than they would want after Robert Green's howler gifted the United States a point in their opening match.

Whether the West Ham goalkeeper retains his place remains to be seen, with David James and Joe Hart gnashing at the bit in the wings.

Capello is definitely without Ledley King who has a groin strain, meaning Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher is expected to start alongside John Terry, although Matthew Upson is another option.

In a boost, Barry will play after an ankle injury kept him out of their opener, which would allow captain Steven Gerrard to return to a more offensive role.

"Gareth will play this Friday," Capello told BBC radio. "He is okay, there is no problem. He has trained very well and he is fit."

Barry's teammates have been stressing all week how much he contributes and his recovery will mean James Milner starts on the substitutes' bench.

The team has also been lifted with star striker Wayne Rooney and Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole back in training after the duo were restricted to gym and pool work following knocks in the opening game.

Rooney, for one, is fired up and put the boot into England's critics.

"At the minute I've not seen anyone we should be afraid of," he told reporters.

Big things are expected of England and their opening performance drew flak, with Capello's selection of Green seeing his judgement seriously questioned for the first time since he became the country's coach.

They have also come under criticism from the legendary former Germany player and coach Franz Beckenbauer, who accused them of going backwards in their development and reverting to a basic kick and run style.

Rooney, who plundered 33 goals for Manchester United last season, said the players were ignoring the criticism.

"That is his opinion and he is entitled to it. But we don't listen to what he has to say. We certainly don't play kick and rush and we don't take any notice of his comments," he said.

Having failed to find the net in Germany four years ago, Rooney is still waiting for his first World Cup goal, but he denied he was under pressure.

"Not at all," he said. "We've got players in the team who can score goals. For us to do well, I need to play better than I did and to score goals.

"But I don't feel under extra pressure. If we win the next two games I'll be happy. I'm not worried. If I don't score in the next game I'll just keep working until I do."

Algeria, who have never faced England before, know that they too must win, having crashed 1-0 to Slovenia in their opening game.

Their only injury doubt is goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, who sprained his left knee in training on Tuesday.

Captain Anther Yahia believes his side can cause problems.

"We have qualities which should shine through," said the 28-year-old.

"We are going to pose problems for the English. We will be more ambitious (than against Slovenia) and it is a role that suits us better."

Algeria coach Rabah Saadane expects his players to give their all.

"England are a superb team. I put them among my favourites. There will be very little change against them in terms of personnel, maybe one or two," he said.

Key head-to-head: Steven Gerrard v Karim Ziani

It will interesting to see who wins the midfield battle. If Gareth Barry plays then Gerrard can assume a more offensive role, driving forward in support of Rooney and Heskey. (It's also rumoured that Capello may start Jermain Defoe in place of Heskey, losing some physical presence up front but possibly gaining pace and agility.)

His counterpart Ziani can also play this role effectively. He is the mainstay of the team and when in possession often chooses to dribble towards goal, and like Gerrard, is also highly capable of scoring.

Read more on: algeria england

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