Fabio Capello and Steven Gerrard have spoken of their delight at the return of Gareth Barry for Friday's Group C clash with Algeria, lauding the extra dimension he gives to the team.
Barry's participation in South Africa had been in real doubt after he sustained an ankle injury for Manchester City on 5 May, and he has undergone intensive rehabilitation in order to get himself fit. The 29-year-old has even spent some nights sleeping in an oxygen tent to speed up the healing process – and the good news for England is that he is now fully fit.
Earlier in the day, Capello confirmed that he would start against Les Fennecs, saying: "Barry will start. He is okay, there is no problem," said Capello. "He has trained very well and he is fit." And in an exclusive chat with FIFA, he explained why the midfielder is so crucial to the team: "Barry is an important player because he is, for us, a holding player in front of the back four."
Barry is instrumental to the England cause. In his 36 caps to date, the team have won 23 matches; a ratio of 64 per cent. His reintroduction to the side means that England are likely to change their style of play, with Gerrard given licence to roam forward and support Wayne Rooney.
He's been fantastic over a couple of years for England and I'm really pleased to have him back, he certainly strengthens the side.
"I should imagine I will be playing in a more attacking role and that suits me, I'm looking forward to it," said Gerrard. "It's great to have Gareth back fit and available, he's a terrific passer and calm in possession, so hopefully he'll give us that protection the two centre-halves need. He's been fantastic over a couple of years for England and I'm really pleased to have him back, he certainly strengthens the side."
Capello also said that the England players have been training well and are in positive mood ahead of the match, despite their below-par performance against USA. However, he hinted that he was not happy with his misfiring strikers in Rustenburg – and changes might be forthcoming. "The players always train well, but a match situation is different," he continued. "You're expected to win. But we're supporting them, they're confident in their ability and they're relaxed.
"I do think we played well against USA, aside from the first 15 minutes when they pressed us a lot to win the ball back. But after that, we played better than them. We created seven chances to score, but we did not. This is the main problem. We will have to address that."