Sol set for England recall
After seeing one brave move pay off with David Beckham's successful return to the international stage, England coach Steve McClaren is now set to recall another old-timer in Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell.
Like Beckham, Campbell's England career ground to a halt after the 2006 World Cup.
Yet, as with his former captain, Campbell's name kept cropping up ahead of McClaren naming successive squads due to the 32-year-old's outstanding form at Fratton Park.
However, after resisting the temptation for 12 months, McClaren is on the brink of naming Campbell among his squad to face Germany on August 22.
With John Terry and Ledley King definitely out and Jonathan Woodgate extremely doubtful, McClaren is short of options.
And he has already pencilled in a trip to see Campbell, and fellow veteran David James, in action against Manchester United, seven days before the Wembley encounter.
'It would be silly and foolish of me to dismiss David James and Sol Campbell,' said McClaren.
'I never said I would do that and I have no intention of doing it and certainly, with the injuries we have, I am not dismissing the possibility of going to watch Portsmouth.
'You can't close the door on anyone in this job. I have brought players back in the past and as long as players want to be involved with England, that is great.'
McClaren was talking at the FA/McDonald's National Football Festival at Wembley Stadium, an event featuring over 800 schoolchildren aimed at boosting the standard and availability of qualified coaching for young players.
It marked the start of an exhausting 10-day period which will see him take in four Premier League matches, plus a trans-Atlantic trip to see David Beckham before he names his squad to face Germany.
The flight to see Beckham in Washington on Thursday fits in nicely with McClaren's schedule, as it allows him to get back to England in time to watch predecessor Sven-Goran Eriksson's first game as an English league boss when Manchester City tackle West Ham at Upton Park.
Although Beckham's current ankle problem means he is unlikely to make his MLS debut against DC United, McClaren feels it is crucial, not only to speak with the midfielder and senior figures at LA Galaxy, but also to watch a game for himself.
'I intend to go over and have a chat with him to see how he is,' revealed McClaren, who was guest of honour at the event.
'I definitely need to speak with his coach (Frank Yallop) and the director of football (Alexi Lalas) as well, but I also need to watch an MLS game in the flesh and have a look at the standard.
'A lot of people have been writing things about the standard of football over there. But I need to see it myself and make that judgement rather than other people.'
Upon his return, McClaren will seek out Liverpool's Jamie Carragher, who remains intent on quitting the England scene.
The England coach has extreme sympathy with the Bootle-born star and understands why he would be frustrated at being such a regular member of his squad but rarely getting asked to play. v But he has managed to persuade Carragher to hang fire on a permanent stance until the pair sit down in Liverpool next week, with McClaren convinced he can talk the 29-year-old round.
'Jamie Carragher is a very important player for England and a very important member of the squad,' he said.
'There is no way I want to lose him and keeping Jamie involved in my main aim at present.
'I can totally understand his thought process. I have every sympathy with players who want to play and feel they should.
'In a way, he has been quite unfortunate. There are players in every should who can be effective in many positions, maybe sometimes to their detriment.
'I have a couple of conversations with Jamie already and I will have another one with him next week.
'Hopefully the situation can be resolved because Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to England over many years and I want that to continue.'