England fall back on Boro rocks

Sol Campbell yesterday withdrew from the England squad to play Slovakia in Bratislava on Saturday evening. Coming on top of Manchester United’s decision last weekend to send Rio Ferdinand for a knee operation, it means that England and Sven-Goran Eriksson will be without the two centre-halves who impressed so much at the World Cup.

Normally such a situation would be the cause of mild panic at least but such is the regard in which Gareth Southgate and Ugo Ehiogu are held that this was far from the case at Bisham Abbey yesterday.

Campbell has been confined to bed suffering from gastro-enteritis for the past two days but may recover in time for England’s game against Macedonia in Southampton on Wednesday. England will review his condition when they return from Bratislava on Sunday.

Neither Ashley Cole, Campbell’s colleague at Highbury, nor the England captain David Beckham trained yesterday but both will travel to Slovakia this morning. Cole took a knock on his ankle against Sunderland on Sunday and Beckham carried an ice pack on his Bicester Village Prada Online calf yesterday, a legacy of the Everton game on Monday. He insisted he would be fit.

Eriksson has decisions to make over who will play behind Beckham on Saturday – Danny Mills or the returning Gary Neville – and in midfield, where he still has a dilemma on the left. Authentic Prada Outlet Online Uk

With the coach apparently unwilling to play 4-3-1-2, a formation in which Paul Scholes could play freely behind the strikers, it appears the United player will revert to the left, where he did well in unfamiliar surroundings against Argentina.

Scholes’s presence there would ensure that Eriksson could accommodate Nicky Butt in central midfield beside Steven Gerrard. That, though, would raise a question about Emile Heskey: if he were to be moved up to partner Michael Owen, Alan Smith would be dislodged.

Fortunately for Eriksson the choices at the back are less complicated. Under the tutelage Authentic Authentic Prada Clothing Prada Shoes Outlet of Steve McClaren and his assistant at Middlesbrough prada sg, Steve Harrison, Authentic Prada Canvas Bag Ehiogu and Southgate have developed into the Premiership’s in-form central defensive partnership. And form, as he said, matters to Eriksson.

Jonathan Woodgate is the other centre-half in the squad – though Mills and Neville have both played in the position – but Eriksson is likely to depend on the understanding Ehiogu and Southgate have built up at Middlesbrough, and Aston Villa before then.

It hardly represents a gamble. Southgate, 32, has 50 caps and Authentic Prada Gauffre is into his 13th season as a professional. In his opinion he is “faster and stronger than ever”. Ehiogu, 30 next month, has never started an England friendly, never mind a competitive international, but his form in tandem with Southgate has left Middlesbrough with the fewest goals against in the Premiership. As Southgate said proudly after last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Bolton, “that’s a sixth clean sheet”.

Both players have earned praise for their contributions in the centre of Boro’s defence and also for the determined manner in which they overcame their relative disappointments in the summer. Ehiogu effectively lost out on a place Baby Prada Shoes Uk in the World Cup squad to Wes Brown after injuring a hamstring against Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. Southgate made the England party Black Prada Bag Mission Impossible but did not gatecrash it on the pitch; he was one of those who watched every minute.

Southgate said his attitude after a summer break Authentic Prada Bag For Sale Philippines of only three weeks was: “There’s still so much to prove. The two lads who have been playing have never let their country down and you have to be patient, Authentic Prada Shoes For Sale but I feel I’m as good as anybody in the country and I feel I’m playing at the top of my game. I’ve no qualms about going in and I intend to stay around, show the manager what I can do and hopefully sway his thinking a bit.

“I know if Ugo is chosen on Saturday he won’t let anybody down. I think whichever combination goes in, you are talking about top-quality players.”