Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Waiting on Beckham Injury

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

England Waiting on Beckham Injury

Article excerpt

David Beckham has emerged as England's main injury worry ahead of tomorrow's World Cup qualifier in Poland, leaving Frank Lampard as the only first-choice midfielder without any fitness concerns.

As if Sven-GUran Eriksson did not have enough to worry about ahead of such an important fixture, his captain was forced to pull out of training this morning in Vienna due to a rib injury.

While the chances are that Beckham will still play in Katowice, his fitness was due to be reassessed after the squad's arrival in Poland to ascertain whether he can train today.

Beckham's injury worry comes on the back of Steven Gerrard's groin problem, Wayne Bridge's Achilles knock and Nicky Butt's hamstring injury, as well as the international retirement of Paul Scholes.

Indeed, given that he is already without Rio Ferdinand, Sol Campbell and Wayne Rooney, Eriksson now has more than his fair share of headaches ahead of tomorrow's crucialgame.

While it would almost certainly be wrong to assume that the Swede will be sacked if England lose to Poland, it would leave him with virtually no room for manoeuvre in next month's qualifiers against Wales and Azerbaijan.

Indeed, if the Football Association were to act against Eriksson, it would be more likely to happen in the four-month gap from competitive fixtures which then ensued.

For now, however, Eriksson insists not only that is he being staying put, but that England will still qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Beating Poland would be a significant step along that path, given that only one point was gained in Austria last Saturday, while the Poles defeated Northern Ireland 3-0 in Belfast.

Eriksson had indicated that he intended to field an unchanged line-up in Katowice, despite the high-profile mistake of David James in Vienna and the pressing claims of Jermain Defoe.

Beckham's injury, however, could delay his team selection, with the England captain being given time to recover from his bruised ribs. …

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