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World Cup 2010
More Injury Woes for England
By Shane Clarke
London Correspondent
England fans are holding their breath as they wait for news on the fitness of another of their key players. 30 year old midfielder Steven Gerrard, Liverpool captain and England vice-captain, limped out of an 11-a-side training match at their camp in Austria after just 30 seconds.

Stefano Tirelli, the team’s Fitness Coach, rushed over to Gerrard and spent 20 minutes treating him on the side of the pitch, massaging his right calf and back. He played no further part in the training match and instead did some light jogging at the end of the session.

Watching locals asked if he was okay, and he gave them a confident thumbs-up. However, he then received more treatment back at the team’s hotel in Schloss Pichlarn, and it is almost certain that he won’t be playing in Sunday’s warm-up game against Japan.

England fans’ nerves are jangling at the moment as it seems each day there is a new fitness worry about one of the team’s key players. With Capello at the helm, there is real hope that England can finally win the World Cup, which they haven’t done since 1966, but only if their key players are fit.

On the upside, there is some positive news on Gareth Barry. The Manchester City midfielder has undergone a number of tests with England team doctor, Ian Beasley; physio, Gary Lewin, and the Manchester City medical staff and the results have been encouraging.

“His ankle is doing well,” said Capello, “much better than we thought. Most importantly, it looks as if the recovery times will be much shorter.

“We’ll wait until the end of this week then we’ll decide whether Barry will play in the World Cup. But we are confident.”

Essien will not play in the World Cup

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien has been ruled out of the Ghana squad for the World Cup finals after failing to recover from an injury in time. Following an assessment by the GFA and Chelsea it was decided that he is not fit enough to play, and probably won’t be until the end of July.

Essien’s problems began in December ’09 when he tore a hamstring. Despite not being fully fit, he travelled to the African Cup of Nations in January to represent Ghana. He played in the early stages of the tournament, but then picked up a knee injury which kept him out of action for the rest of the season.

Ghana’s coach, Milovan Rajovac, had been publicly optimistic about Essien’s chances of playing. Now that the midfielder has been ruled out, Rajovac still insists the team can succeed.

“There are other young and hungry players who will be equally passionate to play,” he said.

Marcos Senna fails to make the cut for Spain

Marcos Senna, the Brazilian-born midfielder who plays for Villareal and who won the European Championship with Spain two years ago, will not be going to South Africa this year. He has only scored once for Villareal in the Primera Liga this season, and when you consider the competition for midfield places in the Spanish team, with the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta, that was never going to be good enough to make the final 23-man squad.

“Sorry, boss – I feel terrible; I can’t come to work today.”

In Britain – and I’m sure it’s the same all over the world – an abnormal amount of people get sick and take days off work during the World Cup. It’s a bizarre pandemic that causes all kinds of illness, but they only last a day, and they only show symptoms when that person’s national team is playing.

In an attempt to stem this bizarre plague, British unions have asked businesses to allow their employees to watch the World Cup at work, to avoid them taking sick days. The Trades Union Council (TUC) General Secretary, Brendan Barber, has said, “Rather than impose a blanket ban on football, and run the risk of de-motivating staff and losing hours through unauthorised sick days, we would encourage employers to let people watch the games and claim back their time afterwards.”

One company boss was heard chanting in reply: “Who are ya! Who are ya!”

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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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