Football

We can cope with injuries - Capello

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Fabio Capello insists he has enough strength in depth to ensure his impressive start to life as England manager continues, despite having to call on his fifth-choice striker for Wednesday night's World Cup clash with Ukraine.

When Darren Bent joined the casualty list on Tuesday and returned to Tottenham with a knee injury, Capello decided to place his faith in Peter Crouch rather than rip up his entire blueprint and shift Wayne Rooney out of his favoured position in the hole.

"Yes, there is enough strength," said Capello. "It is no problem at all. On Saturday Rio Ferdinand was injured so Matthew Upson came in and did well. We don't have Theo Walcott but Aaron Lennon and David Beckham have come in."

And Capello can hardly legislate for being without so many players in one position, as he finds himself.

Gabriel Agbonlahor might have been considered had he not withdrawn from Under-21 duty with a hamstring strain last week. The Aston Villa man has recovered and been cleared for international duty by Martin O'Neill but with no training, will be a substitute at best.

"I have always followed Crouch, so I know him very well," revealed Capello. "He improved when he went to Portsmouth and now he is doing very well.

"He is the best forward I can put on there, so this is a big opportunity for him."

As Crouch is more of a goal threat than Heskey but less able to hold the ball up and bring others, specifically Rooney and Steven Gerrard, into the game, Beckham is being considered as an alternative to Lennon on England's right flank.

However, it is Rooney who holds the key to victory as he wins a 50th cap at the tender age of 23, especially as midfield anchor man Anatoly Tymoschuk is one of Ukraine's star men.

"Rooney is one of the best players in the world," said Capello. "He never played for the Under-21s. He jumped. Only the extra special players can do that."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Portsmouth
Matthew Upson
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
Aaron Lennon
David Beckham
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa
Darren Bent
Theo Walcott
Rio Ferdinand

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