England football manager Fabio Capello faces a defensive crisis for the England’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria.
Phil Jagielka was injured in his club, Everton’s defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday. The centre-back suffered a swollen ankle having taken a nasty blow. He had been called up for the qualifiers against Bulgaria on Friday 3rd September and in Switzerland the following Tuesday. However now his injury has to be assessed and he will sit out training until England management decides if he is fit.
Everton manager David Moyes said that he was going to take Jagielka off at half time as his foot was badly swollen. Fabien Capello regards Jagielka as a critical part of his England squad for the Euro qualifiers and his injury is a major headache. If Jagielka does not recover, it will be a severe blow for Capello, who had him as a starter in central defence.
Capello has been forced to turn back to other options such as Matthew Upson, the West Ham defender, whose England career looked to be over after his poor performance at the World Cup. He had to decide against Ledley King who is suffering from his own injury problems. The decision to draft in Upson offers Capello experienced cover in addition to Gary Cahill and Michael Dawson who can boast only one cap between the two players.
Capello has lost several key players to injury. These include Frank Lampard who needs a hernia operation. Jermain Defoe has delayed a groin operation, while the team-mate, Peter Crouch, has been recalled even though his ripped back muscles are a cause for concern. Crouch looks doubtful for Friday’s match against Bulgaria but remains in the squad in the hope that he will be fit by next week. Fulham goalkeeper David Stockdale, has injured an ankle also and it is thought he could be out for as much as 10 weeks.
The England manager knows that they need to win the qualifier against Bulgaria at Wembley to take off some of the pressure caused by their World Cup performance. If Jagielka is fit in time for the match he would most likely line-up alongside Tottenham defender, Michael Dawson.
The England football squad knows that they need to bounce back and restore pride in the team. The Bulgaria team has its own issues and failed to qualify for the World Cup. In their recent friendly encounter against Russia they lost 1-0. They know that they will face England on home turf in Wembley and that Capello’s team will be rejuvenated as much as injury issues will allow.
England, who were surprise absentees from UEFA EURO 2008, will be determined to put that right in Group G against Switzerland, Bulgaria, Wales and Montenegro