LONDON: England coach Fabio Capello avoided a row with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez
as he left Steven Gerrard out of his squad for Saturday’s friendly match against Brazil in Doha.
Benitez had made it clear on Sunday that he didn’t think Gerrard should be selected as the Liverpool captain has missed several matches with a groin injury suffered during England’s defeat in Ukraine last month. Gerrard could play some part of Liverpool’s Premier League match against Birmingham on Monday, but Capello has placated Benitez by leaving the star out of the trip to Qatar.
Despite injuries to Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole, there was still no place for Manchester United striker Michael Owen once again as Capello recalled Darren Bent. The Sunderland striker has been in fine form this season, scoring eight goals for the Black Cats, although he missed a penalty in Saturday’s defeat at Tottenham.
Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Aaron Lennon and David James are all ruled out through injury, while Aston Villa defender Stephen Warnock and Tottenham midfielder Huddlestone come in. Warnock’s international career has so far amounted to an eight minute substitute appearance in Trinidad last year, while Huddlestone is still to make his senior debut.
Capello named a 24-man squad, although that number will reduce by one after Los Angeles Galaxy maintained their interest in the MLS play-offs on Sunday by beating Chivas USA because David Beckham decided to stay back with the club.