Mar 28, 2011

Barry to lead England at Wembley

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England manager Fabio Capello has named Gareth Barry as captain for Tuesday's friendly against Ghana at Wembley.

Barry, 30, will lead out a much-changed side from the one that beat Wales 2-0 in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Saturday, with Andy Carroll starting up front.

Capello reinstated John Terry as England captain last week and explained why he had spoken to Steven Gerrard but not outgoing skipper Rio Ferdinand.

"Rio was captain, so I must meet him. Steve is only vice-captain," he said.

Capello, who admitted last week to making mistakes over the captaincy issue as he reinstated Chelsea's Terry as skipper, added: "I hope I will speak with Rio next week."

I respect the fans. It will be interesting for them to see players they don't know well

On Sunday, Gerrard - who is injured and not on England duty - revealed that Capello had phoned him to explain the decision to hand the armband back to Terry, while Ferdinand - who is also injured - has had no contact with the manager.

Capello said he will make "about seven changes" for the game against World Cup quarter-finalists Ghana and revealed his reasons for allowing Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Dawson to return to their clubs.

"Some of the players have played a lot," said Capello. "They should only play three games in eight days - I think four games in 10 days is too much. I respect the clubs and the players.

"Joe Hart will play in goal, we will have Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka at centre-back and Leighton Baines will play at left-back. Barry will be the captain and Carroll will play up front.

"Scott Parker will play if he is fit but he has got a little problem. I will decide on Tuesday if he plays for 90 minutes or however long.

"Barry is a really good player, a good captain and he's also the player with the most England caps in the squad now."

Wilshere impressed once again in England's 2-0 win over Wales

Barry, who has 45 caps, admitted it would be a dream come true to lead his country out at Wembley.

"Obviously it's going to be a massive moment in my career," said Barry. "I'm really looking forward to doing the job.

"I will be the same player I always am. You don't put the armband on and change. I've got experience of three years captaining Aston Villa and there is some extra responsibility, but I won't change the way I play."

Wembley is expected to be a sell-out for the game, but Capello shrugged off the suggestion that some supporters would feel short-changed by the number of alterations.

"I respect the fans, too," he said. "There are a lot of changes, but it will be interesting for them to see some players who they don't know very well and it will be interesting for me as well.

"It's really important for the players who come in to understand the spirit of the team. I hope on Tuesday we can take this spirit on to the pitch, the same as the first 30 minutes against Wales on Saturday."

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere may keep his place in midfield for the game, with a potential row brewing over whether he should be made available for England's European Under-21 Championship campaign in Denmark in June.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is likely to want Wilshere to have a rest in the summer, but the 19-year-old - along with Liverpool's £35m striker Carroll - is wanted by Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce.

"This is international football and I want to play in any international football," said Wilshere. "It's up to Stuart Pearce and Fabio Capello. They will talk and see what's best for me.

"I always speak to the manager at Arsenal and I will again. I am sure Stuart and Fabio will talk to him as well."

Capello added: "Of course, I will support Stuart 100% if he wants to take them. I think those two players will be really important for the Under-21s, they can make the difference."



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