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Real Madrid vs. AC Milan in Dubai

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By ESPN Staff

England: Barton called, Barry, Woodgate recalled

Steve McClaren has insisted there will be no internal issues for Joey Barton to deal with when the Manchester City player links up with England for the first time next week.

The feisty midfielder launched a scathing attack on many of his new team-mates in a recent interview when he condemned the post-World Cup autobiographies released on the back of England's woeful performance in Germany last summer.

He then singled out Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard for special treatment, questioning whether they were as dedicated to their profession and he was.

From a player whose chequered disciplinary past includes stubbing a cigar out in a young City player's eye during a Christmas party and an attack on a schoolboy Everton fan during a bar-room brawl in Thailand, it appeared an unwarranted assault and drew an equally withering response from Lampard.

However, despite the potential for friction, McClaren is confident the mood within the England camp will be harmonious when they meet up on Sunday night to begin their preparations for the friendly against Spain at Old Trafford.

'There will be no issues,' he said.

'That is the beauty of England. The players can be rivals on a Saturday and hate each other but when they come together with England, it is a common cause.

'Joey is coming into a fantastic squad and everyone will be professional.'

Although Barton is the only uncapped member of a 28-man squad which includes John Terry, Owen Hargreaves and Andrew Johnson, all of whom will join up but may not play after recent injuries, there are three more players who have not been seen around the international arena for a while.

It is four years, three years and two respectively since Gareth Barry, Jonathan Woodgate and Kieron Dyer last wore an England shirt.

However, with Woodgate and Dyer now recovered from major injury problems and back to top form and Barry's natural ability on the left seen as a major bonus in the absence of Ashley Cole and Joe Cole, McClaren had ended the trio's international exile.

Like Barton, Barry has been included as a result of his form at club level will probably have to settle for a place on the bench with Wayne Bridge tipped to fill the left-back role.

Woodgate and Dyer though would be automatic inclusions in every squad should their fitness not have been called into question so regularly.

'Both Jonathan and Kieron offer us something different,' said McClaren.

'Jonathan is a fantastic defender, he can bring the ball out and create, while Kieron is one of those attackers who has pace, can beat players. He is doing that for Newcastle again and he did it for England before. We are delighted to see it again.'

With McClaren promising to treat Terry with 'kid gloves', Woodgate will probably be asked to partner Rio Ferdinand in central defence while Dyer could take a more advanced role, particularly if McClaren decides to play three forwards, as he did on England's last outing, the 1-1 draw with Holland in November.

The Spain encounter is the final chance for experimentation ahead of the Euro 2008 qualifier crucial with Israel, which many pundits feel will seal McClaren's fate if England fail to avoid defeat.

However, the England coach remains upbeat about the year ahead and is confident qualification for the Finals will be achieved.

'I am still feeling comfortable,' said McClaren, whose side have dropped to third in their qualifying group following a dismal October double-header when a home draw with Macedonia was followed by a clinical defeat in Croatia.

'We are in a good position and there are still a lot of points to play for.

'Everybody realises this is a big year. We have to get down to some hard work and make sure we qualify.'

Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson (Tottenham), Ben Foster (Manchester United, on loan at Watford), Chris Kirkland (Wigan).

Defenders: Gary Neville (Manchester United), Phil Neville (Everton), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Jonathan Woodgate (Real Madrid, on loan at Middlesbrough), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Micah Richards (Manchester City).

Midfield: Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Newcastle), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Joey Barton (Manchester City), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Kieron Dyer (Newcastle).

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Andrew Johnson (Everton).