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World Cup 2010
Gareth Barry in Race to Prove Fitness
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
Manchester City and England Midfielder, Gareth Barry, has been given another week by England coach Fabio Capello to prove his fitness ahead of the World Cup. The ex-Aston Villa star has been recovering from an ankle ligament injury he picked up playing against Tottenham Hotspur on 5th May.

It had been reported that Barry had an appointment to see his specialist yesterday (Tuesday 25th May) to assess his recovery. However, he instead went through a number of rigorous tests to see how he would cope. The results have not been announced as yet.

Capello must name his squad by 1st June, ahead of England’s opening match against the US on 12th. He has said that he will not be taking anyone who would not be fit for that match.

Should the worst happen, and Barry is unable to make the squad, there are alternative options, such as Aston Villa Midfielder James Milner, who has just been voted Professional Footballers’ Association’s young footballer of the year. There is also Michael Carrick of Manchester United and West Ham’s Scott Parker is also an option.

However, it is clearly Gareth Barry that Capello wants on the plane to South Africa.

“He is one of the important players,” said Capello, “really important. If Barry is fit, he will come with us. If not, he will stay at home. He is one of the players we want to be fit.”

Fabregas will focus on the World Cup

Arsenal and Spain international, Cesc Fabregas has said he will put aside thoughts of a move to Barcelona for now and instead focus on the World Cup. This follows a conversation he described as, “…probably the greatest conversation I have had with someone in my life,” with club manager Arsene Wenger.

The 23-year-old Arsenal captain has been linked with a move to Barca this summer, and has said that if he were to leave the Emirates Stadium, that is where he would go. However, following his conversation with Wenger, he said, “I respect him so much. He told me to concentrate on my football and the World Cup and he will deal with whatever happens in my future.”

Barcelona say they approached Arsenal with a view to buying Fabregas last week, but Arsenal has said it has had no official approach as yet.

Fabregas played in Barca’s youth team alongside fans’ favourite, Lionel Messi, before moving to North London 7 years ago. Barcelona have just signed Valencia star David Villa for £34million and they would love to bring Fabregas back to join him.

Wayne Rooney plays down World Cup Fitness Fears

Manchester United and England star Wayne Rooney has denied rumours that he is struggling with injuries ahead of the World Cup. Arguably England’s most important player, Rooney has struggled with an ankle and a groin injury in the last year; he also played the game against Mexico at Wembley on Monday with a stiff neck.

But the 24-year-old said, “Fitness-wise, I feel good. I have been in every training session with England since we got together.

“I haven’t got an ankle problem, that’s a load of rubbish. I had a bit of a stiff neck but that will pass.”

Rooney has just completed a fantastic season with Manchester United, scoring 34 goals in a campaign that saw them finish second in the Premier League, just one point behind champions, Chelsea. Unfortunately, he was dogged by niggling injuries towards the end of the season, and every England fan is praying that they won’t come back to haunt him in just over two weeks.

Playing down fears of this, the ex-Everton striker said, “I have had a full week’s training at the England training camp in Austria and I felt good out there.

“It can sometimes be a bonus having a break during the season. Fingers crossed it will be.”

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Shane Clarke serves as London Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He has been involved in humanitarian work for numerous years. He’s also a freelance management consultant. Having completed an honors degree in Law at Wolverhampton University, he then moved on to an MBA at Warwick Business School. He’s heavily involved in the fight against international parental child abduction to Japan.






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