Barry's World Cup reprieve

Injured City midfielder's date change ensured squad place

Barry: World Cup doubt

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Gareth Barry risked missing out on England's provisional World Cup squad until he clarified the date of his next check-up on his ankle injury.

The Manchester City midfielder remains a doubt for the tournament in South Africa after suffering ankle ligament damage in the defeat to Spurs last week.

Barry had initially informed England boss Fabio Capello that he was not due to see his specialist until 29th May, before hastily getting in touch to say the appointment is actually on 24th May.

The first date is 24 hours before England's final friendly against Japan in Graz and would leave little time for Barry to get fit before Capello's men leave for their World Cup quest on 2nd June.

But if he is given the all-clear on the revised date, Barry can link up with his team-mates on 26th May, when they head back out to their Irdning training camp, with an excellent chance of making Capello's final 23-man party.

With fresh information, it is little wonder Capello completed a U-turn on his downbeat assessment of Barry's fitness 24 hours earlier, which gave rise to speculation Owen Hargreaves was about to receive a shock call-up.


"I know," said Capello, when reminded of Monday's statement.

"But he told me he would be checked by the medics on 29th or 30th of May. Now he tells me it's the 24th. That's six days. It's different. For this reason, I decided to select him."

Armed with fresh information, Capello took further advice from England doctor Ian Beasley and trusted assistant Franco Baldini, he decided to take a chance.

"We will wait until the next check before making the decision," he said.

"We don't know what chance Gareth Barry has of being fit but we have time to decide."

Fifa's rules on injured players mean although Barry cannot be replaced in Capello's 30-man squad, if he kept his place for the final 23 - which must be handed in on 1st June - he could still withdraw through an injury that had been verified, and that replacement would not have to be drawn from the men England submitted.