Darren Bent has confirmed a shoulder injury has forced him to miss England's friendly with Holland on Wednesday and now Fabio Capello could be about to find out how far Jack Wilshere is prepared to push his relationship with Arsene Wenger.
When Capello unveiled his 25-man squad late Saturday night, Bent's name was missing. The initial reason offered was that Capello had been informed earlier in the week Bent had been struggling with a shoulder problem and was not fit. Yet Bent featured in Villa's friendly with Sporting Braga yesterday and his club offered up no immediate injury concern.
However, Bent confirmed on Twitter: "Gutted I had to pull out of the England squad. The shoulder has been bothering me and wanna make sure I'm fully fit for the big KO next week."
Instead, Manchester United's Danny Welbeck got the call as England's fourth striker, ahead of Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge. Welbeck was one of 11 players involved during Sunday's Community Shield that were due to report for duty at England's training HQ at the Grove Hotel in Watford.
However, Sir Alex Ferguson has already expressed doubt over the 20-year-old's involvement, revealing that Welbeck had suffered an ankle problem during the 3-2 win over Manchester City and his fitness would need to be assessed by the FA's medical staff.
In addition to those on duty at Wembley, Scott Parker and Robert Green featured for West Ham in their npower Championship defeat to Cardiff at Upton Park and will also need to be assessed.
Whilst the loss of any of those players would not be a great surprise, the presence of Wilshere in Watford raises the potential for more club versus country conflict. The midfielder missed Arsenal's defeat to Benfica on Saturday night after being ruled out of the trip with an ankle injury.
Theo Walcott was also absent in Lisbon, but while the winger was not selected by Capello, Wilshere was, such is his importance to the emerging England side. Even though Capello has vowed not to take any risks, the Italian accepts players can sometimes mask the truth about their fitness in an effort to make their presence felt on the international stage.
"Possibly some players will not be completely fit," said Capello. "They might have a little pain. The manager says why are you playing in a friendly game? We need you for an important game on Saturday in the Premier League.
"I know how they think. I remember this problem. But if the player decides he wants to go to the national team, it is impossible to stop him. He might say he thinks he is OK or the pain is not so strong. This is what some players have done during my career as a club manager. They just said they wanted to go."
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