DOHA, Nov 12 – England's preparations for their friendly clash with Brazil suffered a serious setback on Thursday when Frank Lampard was ruled out of the match with a thigh injury.The Chelsea midfielder suffered a strain to his left thigh while training in temperatures above 30 degrees on Thursday morning. After a lengthy assessment by England’s medical staff, it was decided he would fly back to London immediately for further treatment.
Head coach Fabio Capello decided against calling up a replacement for Saturday’s meeting with the five-times world champions in Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium.
Lampard’s withdrawal further depletes an England squad which was already missing half of Capello’s first choice line-up.
Full-backs Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole, Rooney’s United team-mate Rio Ferdinand, Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard, goalkeeper David James and Aston Villa striker Emile Heskey were all unable to travel to Qatar because of various injuries.
Capello is also without Theo Walcott and Aaron Lennon and lost the services of David Beckham after his club, LA Galaxy, made the Major League Soccer play-offs.
The injury to Lampard could mean an opportunity for Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone to make his first appearance for England, although Manchester United’s Michael Carrick represents a more experienced option for Capello to slot in alongside Gareth Barry in central midfield.
Jermaine Jenas is another possibility for that place while Shaun Wright-Phillips, James Milner and Ashley Young are all vying for roles on the flanks.