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Gerrard fit after injury scare

2010-05-29 09:56

London - England midfielder Steven Gerrard has eased fears over his fitness for the Soccer World Cup after suffering an injury scare in training.

Gerrard sustained a calf problem just seconds into an 11-a-side training match at England's Austrian camp on Thursday and spent the rest of the session receiving treatment on the sidelines.

He was only able to resume light jogging at the end of the session and received further treatment at the team's hotel, but the English Football Association confirmed on Friday that the Liverpool captain was due to take a full part in the day's training.

It remains to be seen if the 29-year-old will be risked in Sunday's friendly against Japan in Graz.

Gerrard's Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson also missed Thursday's session as a precaution due to a groin injury suffered in Monday's friendly win over Mexico.

However, there was better news for Capello over the fitness of midfielder Gareth Barry as the Italian revealed the Manchester City star has a good chance of being ready for the finals.

Barry has been sidelined since early May after sustaining ankle ligament damage playing for City against Tottenham and it was feared he may not be fit in time to make Capello's 23-man squad.

But scans this week showed he is progressing well and Capello hopes to name the former Aston Villa player in his 23-man squad.

"We analysed Barry's ankle two days ago. The recovery time is shorter than we thought," Capello said.

"We will wait until the end of the week and then we will decide if Barry will or won't play in the World Cup but we are very hopeful."

Capello also dismissed suggestions that Wayne Rooney is struggling with groin and ankle injuries after a relatively subdued display against Mexico.

The Manchester United star has scored only once in his last seven games but Capello is convinced he will be back in form in South Africa.

"Rooney is fine. He's not been scoring recently but I'm pleased with what he's doing in training because he's back at 100 per cent," he said.

"He has all the qualities of a top goalscorer and I have always told him to play more central.

"Before, he always helped all his team-mates, running right and left and everywhere, and in so doing he was spending a lot of energy. Now that he keeps more in front of goal he's fresher and sharper, so he scores more."

Sunday's game against Japan will be Capello's last chance to assess his options before naming his final squad on Tuesday, but he believes the players have already demonstrated they have the desire and quality to do well in South Africa.

"My England players have a different spirit, they train very well and eagerly, really determined," Capello said.

"They are far less capricious on the pitch than others. It's great to work with them. Besides, they are very good technically, they know how to stay on the pitch.

"I am satisfied with the work we've done so far. We are retrieving all the work done during the qualifying matches."

While the Italian is still pondering his selection, he has no doubts which teams will pose the greatest threat to England's World Cup hopes.

"Brazil are the most compact and solid team. Their style is very little Brazilian and very much European," Capello said.

"Spain are the European champions and a team that can play really well. They have been together for ages and they have not lost for ages. They are a real danger.

"I am wary of Argentina, probably the team with the most talented players. As for the other Europeans, do not forget Italy are the world champions.

"Nobody seems to take Germany into account but they have played the most finals and always finish in the top four. Another team you should consider is Holland."

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