Friday, March 21, 2008


Capello said the fact England under-21s have a friendly rather than competitive game next week allowed him to pick Walcott, 19, and Wheater, 21.

He added: "Theo Walcott and David Wheater are two good young players who have done very well for the Under-21s this season and when I have seen them play for their clubs.

"Stuart Pearce has given me excellent recommendations on both players. Next week Stuart has a friendly match so it is a good opportunity for us to consider some of the younger players for the senior squad."

Capello also made special mention of Michael Owen and Joe Cole in matches he was watched this week.

"I saw Michael Owen play for Newcastle on Monday at Birmingham," said the Italian. "I felt he looked sharp, very alive and it was good to see him scoring.

"I should also mention Joe Cole who I thought was excellent last night for Chelsea in a very exciting game. He had a massive impact."

Portsmouth striker Jermain Defoe has also been included while Chelsea pair John Terry and Frank Lampard, who missed Capello's first game in charge due to injury, are also in.

Those named in Capello's first 30-man squad in January who miss out this time are Micah Richards and Curtis Davies, both injured, as well as Ledley King, Nicky Shorey, Michael Carrick and Emile Heskey.

Capello has not named his captain against France - he has said he wants to try different plays for deciding on a permanent choice. Steven Gerrard had the armband against Switzerland last month and Terry or Rio Ferdinand are the favourites for this game.

Most of the focus will be on Beckham though and the 32-year-old has convinced Capello that he is fit enough after several pre-season games with Los Angeles Galaxy.

It also seems very unlikely that Capello will not keep him in his thinned-down 23-man squad that he will confirm on Saturday evening.

Walcott's inclusion was also anticipated as the 19-year-old's recent performances for Arsenal, including a notable cameo against AC Milan, were known to have caught Capello's eye.

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