Injuries and bookings give Capello major headache
The injuries and bookings England picked up in their draw with the USA could prove equally as damaging as their failure to secure three points.
There was always a question mark over Ledley King’s knees but it was an abductor problem that kept him from playing the second half, and he will now not play a part in England’s next match with Algeria.
King’s replacement, Jamie Carragher, looked off the pace, first getting a booking for a late lunge and then appearing seriously flat-footed when one-on-one with Jozy Altidore, allowing the American a clear strike on goal.
When Carragher barged the same player off the ball a few minutes later he could have received a second card and, as he did for Liverpool at the start of last season, looks a potential liability for future games.
With only an out-of-form Matthew Upson, and an inexperienced Michael Dawson left to choose from, England’s defence, which now has just one clean sheet in 10 matches, could be fragile in matches to come.
James Milner’s stomach bug will also give Fabio Capello a headache.
That the manager initially preferred the Aston Villa midfielder to Joe Cole was a surprise, but when Shaun Wright-Phillips was brought on and asked to play on the left instead of the Chelsea man, it was an even bigger shock.
The Manchester City winger looked eager to please but ended up rushing things too often, and it remains to be seen who will play on that wing from now on.
Indeed, with doubts over Gareth Barry’s fitness and Michael Carrick’s confidence the midfield jigsaw looks far from complete.
Before he went off Milner picked up a booking for repetitive fouling and Steven Gerrard, probably England’s best player, was also yellow-carded. Gerrard is 9/4 second favourite to be England top scorer.
If either receives another in the group stage they will be suspended for England’s next match, such a situation would be dire if it occurred in England’s final group game against Slovenia. England are 19/10 to go out in the round of 16.