NAIROBI, March 16 – You knew it was going to happen didn’t you?That the fabled injury curse would again dominate England’s build up to the 2010 world cup.
News that David Beckham had torn his Achilles tendon and would miss the football bonanza in South Africa has made headline news around the world.
In 2002, it was all about Beckham’s metatarsal that saw it debated in parliament, Danny Murphy and Gary Neville also breaking a bone in the foot as the word metatarsal gained prominence and Steven Gerrard who was absent with a groin injury.
Then in 2006, it was the turn of Wayne Rooney who broke-yes you guessed right, a metatarsal and the build up to Germany was dominated by concerns whether he would be fit or not. He made it only to stamp on Ricardo Carvalho’s nether regions and get himself sent off in the quarterfinals.
2010 has not been any different. England’s first choice left back Ashley Cole is racing against time to be fit after fracturing his ankle. The former Arsenal player is one of a few truly world class players and
But unlike 2002 and 2006, Beckham’s absence will not bother Coach Fabio Capello as much as is being hyped in sections of the media. At 34, he is pretty much a fringe player.
A player who is used off the bench to provide calmness and a wicked freekick or two. True his experience is the thick of the fight would have been useful but Capello will not lose sleep over it.
The injury to Cole is of more concern to the Italian especially as his deputy-Wayne Bridge has turned down a chance to travel to South Africa in the wake of the John Terry scandal.
Capello will also be concerned over the form of Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool skipper has been off form certainly weary by the fight for fourth in an uninspiring season for the Reds.
Rio Ferdinand’s dodgy back is also of similar concern as the new England skipper has spent more time in the treatment room than on the pitch this season. The situation is made even more precarious by the fact that back ups Mathew Upson and Joleon Lescott do not inspire confidence while Phil Jageilka is only returning to full fitness after a year out..
But the one man who Capello will pray and hope can stay fit in Wayne Rooney. The Manchester united No.10 is in the form of his life having risen to the challenge of replacing the departed Cristiano Ronaldo at old Trafford. Rooney has been exceptional scoring goals and leading the line while he has also managed to cool down his fiery temperament.
Add the Terry saga, the dressing room being bugged and usual tales of wives and girlfriends (WAGS) planning another spectacular outing and the England story is complete-all that remains is a heartbreaking quarterfinal loss on post match penalties!
In hindsight, all these drama that has rocked England’s build up maybe good for them in the long run. This is because by June they will have weathered pretty much everything before a ball is kicked.
This will leave the players to only concentrate on football which will be a change from the past where sideshows have dominated England’s challenge at a major championship.