Wilshere to start in youthful line-up
Jack Wilshere is set to start his third successive England game tonight after Fabio Capello agreed to leave Scott Parker on the substitutes' bench for the friendly with Ghana.
Parker had been pencilled in to be one of only four players retained from the starting line-up from Saturday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying win.
However, West Ham have expressed concern about whether the midfielder is risking long-term injury. And, after releasing five UEFA Champions League-bound players to their clubs on Sunday, then sending Aaron Lennon back to Tottenham last night as a precaution, it is believed Capello has assured Avram Grant he will limit Parker's involvement as well. "If you are tired, it is possible to get really serious injuries," said Capello, before knowledge of Parker's position became known.
The loss of Lennon could also trigger a debut for Matt Jarvis, who as an orthodox wide player would be an obvious replacement, even though most of his football for Wolves this season had been on the left wing rather than the right, where it was thought Lennon would start. Providing Capello goes through with his intention to select Wilshere if Parker is ruled out, it could be a very inexperienced England team given Liverpool's Andy Carroll will also start.
Capello reinforced the belief Carroll was not fully fit after his recent thigh problem as he explained why the 22-year-old was not picked for Saturday's EURO 2012 qualifying win over Wales in Cardiff. However, the England boss feels the £35 million man is capable of starting a friendly. "He needs to play," said Capello. "Liverpool will be happy for him to play. It is a friendly and he can play up to half-time, or more. For this reason, the game is important for him and for me."
Capello has already expressed high hopes for Carroll, although he does feel it could be another month before he returns to the form that earned him an international debut against France in November, when he was one of the few players to catch the eye. In addition the England chief has already had a chat with Carroll to emphasise the increased publicity that comes with representing his country.
"Not only Andy likes to drink beer," he said. "He needs to improve, to drink less. I spoke with him, in private. He is really young and his behaviour now is important. He needs to be careful at every moment because when you play with the England national team you are the focus of the fans, the newspapers, the photographers, the people that live around him."