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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 7, 2008

Four players sit out England training

England captain John Terry was the most notable of the four absentees from training as Fabio Capello's side began their preparations for Saturday's World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan at Wembley.

Terry felt a niggle in his back at the end of Chelsea's win over Aston Villa on Sunday and was not expected to train any way today.

The other missing men were Terry's Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole, Manchester United's Wes Brown and Stewart Downing of Middlesbrough.

All four were confined to gym work, but the quartet are expected to train tomorrow and Thursday, when it is expected Capello will play his intended side in a full-size training game.

With Joe Cole out with a foot injury, it is believed Capello will ditch the plan of having a holding midfield and instead pair Steven Gerrard with Frank Lampard in central midfield.

Although the duo has never seemed to work together as a unit, the England coach knows he needs to get the most from the world-class pair, although the presence of Gareth Barry could provide some insurance against the eastern Europeans.

Lampard, however, brushed aside the age-old question about whether he and Gerrard can operate effectively in the same team.

''It is very important to talk about the team - we can look into the wrong issues,'' he told a press conference.

''We are breaking it down much too much. I'm not trying to find issues with certain players. We (he and Gerrard) haven't really done quite what we could do over the last couple of years.

''We have been playing at a high level for our clubs and people expect the same for England and it does not always happen.

''But the Croatia performance (when England won 4-1 in Zagreb in their last qualifier) shows that when we play as a team that is what is important.

''The manager is focused on that very much. The manager will pick the team and the players are there to play as a group.

''If you look too much into things you can find problems.''

Theo Walcott is expected to retain his right-sided berth after scoring his memorable hat-trick against Croatia last month, while the return of Peter Crouch provides some competition for Emile Heskey, who should nevertheless partner Wayne Rooney in attack.

Crouch said: ''I always said when I was at Liverpool I wasn't playing as many games as I needed to be playing.

''I always felt confident that when I was playing regularly I'd score goals and do well enough to be in the England set-up.

''Now I am doing that and it's proving me right at the moment but I have just got to keep that going.

''I am not the type of person who would sit there and sulk or throw my arms in the air. I would rather get down and do the business for my club.

''The manager has proved in the past, he has left players out at times, but if they've played well, worked hard and done well at club level they will be straight back in.''

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