Reds fuming over Gerrard injury

Liverpool fitness chief Darren Burgess claims there was an

agreement to play Gerrard for only an hour. As it was the Liverpool

captain limped off after 84 minutes after suffering a hamstring

injury and he will undergo a scan on Thursday. It prompted Burgess,

Liverpool’s head of fitness and conditioning, to vent his anger on

Twitter, in a post that was later deleted from his page. Burgess

said: “Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA

with regard to Steven Gerrard’s injury. Completely ignored

agreement and past history.” Fabio Capello, however, insisted he

played Gerrard for longer than the hour because Gareth Barry had an

ankle problem and Rio Ferdinand had picked up a muscle problem.

Capello said: “We spoke with Steve and he said he would play one

hour, but after Barry’s injury we had some problems. That was the

reason he stayed on the pitch. If it’s possible, the players will

play the time we agreed with the club. But Barry was really injured

so we needed someone senior on the pitch because it was a really

young team. He said he was good. We’re upset about what happened to

Steve, of course.” Capello admitted Liverpool had requested Gerrard

not play more than an hour. He said: “They asked that he can play

one hour if it’s possible. They can’t decide how long a player

plays with the national team. If it’s possible, he’d have played an

hour. “I understand why they’re upset and I’m also upset. The

problem is that, when you play this game on Wednesday after a lot

of Premier League, Europa League or Champions League games, it’s

possible there might be an injury for a player. “The Premier

League, every time, is a tough league for the players.” Karim

Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena scored the goals for France while

substitute Peter Crouch grabbed a late consolation for England, the

22nd of his international career, when he volleyed home a corner

from close range. Capello, however, was pleased with the debut of

Newcastle striker Andy Carroll. Capello said: “I’m really happy for

the performance of Andy because he played very well. He’ll be a

player who’ll be important for the future of England. “When he

received the ball he played quickly and his movement every time was

dangerous.” Capello insisted England had cleared it with Newcastle

to play Carroll, who had arrived at the England training HQ with a

groin injury. “Franco (Baldini, England general manager) spoke with

Newcastle before the game and we checked him before the game,” said

Capello. “I spoke with him (Carroll) at the hotel, personally, and

after the warm-up here. After the first half, too. He told me he

was fit to play every time. “No player has ever played with me who

was not fit. Our doctor said he was fit, so the player was ready to

play. He played 70 minutes very well, no problem.” Capello

admitted, however, that England were outplayed by France,

especially in the first half. He said: “France played very well in

that first half, when we played without confidence and with fear.

“We missed a lot of passes and played the ball back, not forward.

The only times we went forward were long balls to Carroll, which

isn’t the style we like. “It was important for me to see the value

of the young players here. I’ve seen them play with their clubs and

with the under-21s. Here is different. It’s important to see how

they react against a stronger team.” France coach Laurent Blanc,

who took over after the World Cup, was delighted with the progress

made by his side. He said: “I am very pleased with the way the team

played. England are physically strong but we bossed the first half.

“We wanted to enjoy ourselves and I told the players that in their

career they would only get one chance, maybe two, to play at

Wembley. The players will treasure this game for the rest of their

careers. “We imposed our own ideals, kept the ball on the deck and

matched England physically. We matched them blow for blow in the

individual battles. What really pleased me is that we had

penetration up front and caused them problems. “Eric Abidal closed

down the space in front of him. He also combined very well with

Florent Malouda and caused England problems. “We’re still building.

It gives us confidence to speed that up a bit. We have another big

test in February when we face Brazil in Paris. We are a bit more

optimistic.”