Gareth Barry is expected to be named in Fabio Capello's final 23-man squad for the World Cup after undergoing a series of strenuous fitness tests with the England medical team this morning.
But Barry has come through his tests with flying colours under the watchful eyes of Dr Ian Beasley, the England team doctor, and the national team's head physiotherapist Gary Lewin.
The suggestions so far today are that he remains on course and could yet be involved in the later group games against either Algeria or Slovenia – much to the relief and delight of former Englans stalwart Terry Butcher, who shares Fabio Capello’s belief that Barry is a must-pick for South Africa.
“Mark my words, the winners of the World Cup will definitely have at least one destroyer in the holding midfield role,” said Butcher.
“If England are to have any aspirations of reaching the Final, Gareth Barry must be on the plane this Wednesday, fit for the first game or not.
“It is quite amazing that one player’s incapacity can affect the hopes and ambitions of an entire nation.
“But Barry’s importance to the team is such that no one else can fill the position in front of the back four with anywhere near the same authority as the Manchester City midfielder.”