King fears intensify for England
Fabio Capello insists England’s campaign remains on track despite the prospect of being without Ledley King for the rest of the tournament.
King suffered a groin injury in the first half of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with the United States and, after failing to reappear after the interval, looks set to miss at least a fortnight.
Should King’s absence be confirmed, he would be out at least until after a last-16 knockout game and, with his general fitness suffering as a result, is hardly likely to be plunged into a potential quarter-final.
The 29-year-old’s injury further deepens Capello’s defensive problems after skipper Rio Ferdinand’s tournament was cruelly ended by a knee injury he suffered in training while goalkeeper Robert Green’s howler against the United States will ensure question marks remain over his position.
Yet Capello can see the positives from an opening performance that has done little to shake his belief a place in the final on July 11 can be achieved.
"I didn’t make mistakes and I’m not worried for the future," he insisted.
"We played a good game and, for me, the most important thing is to see the spirit of the team and also the physical condition of the players.
"I was worried about the result because it is possible to lose a game like this.
"We had seven or eight chances. That is good football.
"But it is not enough just to create the chances. To win we have to score.
"Twice we were in front of the goal, once with Shaun Wright-Phillips, once with Emile (Heskey). Alone, Absolutely alone."
That Heskey should miss in such a situation is perhaps hardly a surprise and the Aston Villa man did set up skipper Steven Gerrard for England’s fourth-minute opener with a deft touch.
Had Green not suffered the inexplicable aberration that has put his place in the team to play Algeria on Friday in jeopardy, England would be looking back on a result and a performance that provides plenty to build on.
As it is, news that King – a man Capello was prepared to take a chance on despite suffering so many recent injury problems – could have played his last game at the tournament merely compounds Green’s performance.
For Green, the damage was completely self-inflicted and Capello now needs to assess the West Ham goalkeeper’s mental state before deciding whether to risk him against Algeria.
"We must think about this problem psychologically," said the England coach.
"Goalkeepers make mistakes. This is part of football. You have to accept that.
"I decided on Green because he played very well in the last game against Platinum Stars and also against Mexico at Wembley, and in the second-half last night he played very well and made a really important save. But a mistake remains a mistake.
"Now I have to speak with him, then I will decide what to do."