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Transfer Talk

Capello turns to youth for friendly with France

A set of "Fabio's Fledglings" will be called up for England on Saturday evening to take on France. ESPNsoccernet understands that a group of the country's most promising young talents are already on the FA's "provisional" list, on stand-by as Fabio Capello decides which of his new generation will be called up in the squad.

Newcastle United's Andy Carroll and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who this season is holding down a regular place under Arsene Wenger, are likely to start at Wembley on Wednesday.

Among a group of youngsters, Capello also has in mind Wolves winger Matt Jarvis, Sunderland's Jordan Henderson and Blackburn's Phil Jones, while Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor is also in the reckoning if he can prove his fitness in Aston Villa's game on Saturday with Manchester United ahead of the squad announcement.

Agbonlahor will have good reason to celebrate a new contract to stay at Aston Villa until 2015 if he is also called up by England. Actually the longest-serving player at the Midlands club, the 24-year-old made a successful return in the midweek win over Blackpool to put him in line for a start against Manchester United that can catch Capello's eye.

An England source said: "Agbonlahor played only around 25 minutes in the last match so much depends on what happens at the weekend ahead of the squad announcement. He certainly has another chance."

England are seriously missing strikers with no Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent or Bobby Zamora available, and Capello is more likely to bring in Agbonlahor than retain Bolton's veteran striker Kevin Davies.

My source added: "Kevin Davies was selected by Fabio for the specific purpose of being used for the long ball, as we thought that might be necessary in the final stages against a very tough team like Montenegro in a competitive European Championship tie. Now, with this friendly, it makes more sense to call upon some of the young hopefuls to see how they fare.

"Of course, a lot depends on the condition of the players and when they turn up for training, but it is possible that there will be a few young players in the squad and a couple of the new players could even start the match at Wembley."

Capello likes a big, strong traditional type of English centre-forward, but he also wants this type of player to have pace, which makes Carroll ideal. On Carroll, the source said: "If not now, then when? He is scoring goals, and deserves his big chance."

Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge has been tipped to emerge from the Under-21s into the senior side but has not had many first-team chances this season to prove himself, so his breakthrough with England is likely to have to wait.


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