Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gareth's Return; Sven Brings Villa Star Back for England

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Gareth's Return; Sven Brings Villa Star Back for England

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

GARETH BARRY was today called out of international exile by England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

The Aston Villa midfielder has been in the wilderness for more than two years, but the 22-year-old was drafted into the injury-hit squad to play South Africa in Durban on Thursday.

Eriksson said: "Gareth Barry has had an excellent season with Aston Villa and has shown that he can play in a number of positions and I look forward to working with him."

Barry, who was called up after the withdrawal through injury of Kieron Dyer and Danny Murphy, added: "It has always been an ambition of mine to try and get back into the full national squad even though I have been proud to captain the Under-21s."

Barry started his career as a central defender, but was converted by former Villa manager Graham Taylor into a left-sided midfielder when he returned to the club 15 months ago.

He has revelled in the role and last week was voted Villa's player of the year.

Although he has had to be content with being England Under-21 captain for the past 12 months, Barry may finally have the chance to show Eriksson his credentials at the highest level.

Meanwhile, Eriksson was today confident that Wayne Rooney will recover from a knee injury in time to play in the European Championship qualifier against Slovakia next month.

Rooney stayed behind to have treatment as the rest of the England squad flew out to South Africa today, but Eriksson expects him to link up with the party in La Manga, Spain, next week.

The decision to leave Rooney behind was made after a medical examination of his injured knee in London yesterday that was attended by his club manager, David Moyes, and Eriksson.

The pair have had increasingly strained conversations over the fitness of the Everton star in recent days. Rooney will spend the next five days recuperating on Merseyside while the rest of the squad are scheduled to meet Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg on Wednesday before playing the friendly. …

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