England midfielder Gareth Barry has told Croatia that the pressure is on them and to forget about mind-games ahead of the two teams' 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifier on Wednesday 5 September.

Barry has laughed off talk of a conspiracy to injure Luka Modric and, as one of the survivors of two years ago when Slaven Bilic's side denied them a place at UEFA EURO 2008, is focused on showing how far England have come under Fabio Capello.

The Manchester City midfielder knows England are in the driving seat after seven wins from as many South Africa 2010 qualifiers, while Croatia need a win to maintain their hopes of a play-off place.

"This game is completely different to two years ago," Barry said. "They know we can qualify on the night and the pressure is on them."

As for talk of deliberately sidelining Modric, Barry added: "We've laughed at a comment like that. It's something that doesn't go on."

They know we can qualify on the night and the pressure is on them.

Gareth Barry sets up England's meeting with Croatia on 9 September

There will be an element of revenge for England after the defeat in 2007, marking an end to Steve McClaren's reign and leading to Capello's appointment. And Capello was keen to face Slovenia four days before the Croatia clash as they have a similar style to Bilic's men, with Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe grabbing the goals in a 2-1 win.

"Now it's the big one," Barry said. "A lot of players in that dressing room won't forget that night at Wembley. There will be a few memories.

"Like many others it was the lowest point of my career - being on the verge of qualifying for a championship and then all of a sudden it's taken away from you. This is England we're talking about and we need to be part of these tournaments.

"But it's a different manager and a different team and although that might be in the back of our minds we'll be confident we can do it this time. We've come a long way, really if you look at the results. If we qualify on Wednesday with a 100 per cent record that's all we can do.

"Everyone wants to put it to bed on Wednesday and get across the line. I'm sure the lads will be firing on the night."

"Obviously I wasn't here but I was feeling for the lads," said striker Emile Heskey. "It was sad. You want to be involved in all these games, in all the tournaments but not everyone can be."

Jermain has done brilliantly. Every time he comes on the pitch he scores a goal.

Emile Heskey on Jermain Defoe

Heskey's recall has been a huge part of Capello's reign but the Aston Villa striker is aware of Defoe breathing down his neck with five goals in three substitute appearances.

"You can't complain (if Defoe starts)," Heskey said. "Jermain has done brilliantly. Every time he comes on the pitch he scores a goal. That's the main thing.

"We're in competition but it's good competition. It puts you on your toes knowing you've got to do well."

Heskey also defended Wayne Rooney, who was criticised by Slovenia players after winning a penalty for the opener at Wembley: "The lad was pulling his shirt. Sometimes they're given, sometimes they're not.

"Hopefully Wayne can continue with his form for years to come. He's a great player. He appreciates everyone. He's a provider as well as a finisher."