Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Injured Beckham Misses Training

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Injured Beckham Misses Training

Article excerpt

Byline: KEN DYER

DAVID BECKHAM missed training today but is still expected to be in the starting line-up for England's opening Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia on Saturday.

England captain Beckham injured a calf in Manchester United's 3-0 win against Everton on Monday night and was excused training at Bisham Abbey today as a precautionary move but is set to be involved again in time to play in Bratislava.

United team-mate Paul Scholes was able to take part in today's session after a scheduled scan on his ankle.

Fullback Ashley Cole was also rested after picking up a knock against Sunderland on Sunday but he too is expected to play.

Gary Neville also looks set for a return to the side.

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson was impressed with the consistent displays of Leeds fullback Danny Mills during the World Cup when Neville was recovering from injury.

However, he appears to believe that the Manchester United defender's natural linkup play with Beckham is a big advantage.

Eriksson admitted: "They have played together for eight years so they should know each other very well."

Neville, 27, only returned to the United starting line-up on 1 October against Olympiakos, but he also played against Everton on Monday night in front of Eriksson. While Mills offers a greater attacking threat, Neville - who has 52 caps - will give the England side added experience.

"When Danny Mills played at right-back for us, he always did very well and had a good World Cup," said Eriksson.

"It's a nice problem to have with two very good right-backs. But I think Gary Neville is ready to play, even with the national team.

"It's good to have him back again. He is playing better and better."

However, Eriksson will definitely be without centre-half Sol Campbell following following his withdrawal today with gastroenteritis.

Campbell will still be considered for next Wednesday's qualifier against Macedonia at Southampton's St Mary's ground and a decision is likely to be made on his fitness on Sunday.

Ugo Ehiogu looks to be the frontrunner for his place on Saturday.

His Middlesbrough team-mate Gareth Southgate, who won his 50th cap in the friendly against Portugal last month, looks certain to start in the absence of Rio Ferdinand, who has just had a knee operation, and it would make sense to pair the two club colleagues together. …

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