Injury concern could scupper Carroll's England debut
Newcastle striker Andy Carroll could be denied the chance to make his England debut against France next week due to a groin injury, with Fabio Capello calling up West Ham's Carlton Cole as cover.
Carroll played 90 minutes in Newcastle's 0-0 draw with Fulham on Saturday, but could be forced to withdraw from Capello's squad for the friendly international if he fails to recover from the injury. The striker will be assessed on Sunday night.
Missing the game would come as a cruel blow to a player who has scored seven goals in the Premier League this season to earn senior international recognition for the first time.
With Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor also carrying an injury, Capello has called on Cole as cover, despite the striker struggling for form with West Ham this season.
Carroll spoke on Saturday of his pride at earning a call-up and his hopes of winning a first senior cap when France visit Wembley on Wednesday.
"It's a real honour to be selected for England," Carroll said. "It obviously shows I am progressing on the pitch and it is fantastic that Mr Capello has given me this opportunity to be involved with the senior England team.
"If it comes [a first cap], it will be a great feeling for me - but not just me, it will be for my family as well - but we will see what happens. I will be delighted if I do, but it will not stop me doing my job for Newcastle United."
Carroll's fitness problems also mean that the prospect of Jay Bothroyd becoming the first Cardiff City player to be capped by England is even more likely. The 28-year-old was a shock inclusion in Capello's squad after enjoying a prolific run of form in the Championship.
The likes of Michael Gray and David Nugent have won caps while playing in the second tier under previous England managers, and Cardiff boss Dave Jones hopes Capello continues to look outside of the Premier League.
"We're hoping he starts or he gets some part of the game because we do believe that he has earned it," Jones told BBC Radio 5 Live. "There are some good players down in the Championship and it would be a shame if they are overlooked because of the division they are playing in.
"Jay thinks he should be there anyway so that's not a problem. It's a lift for Jay, it's a lift for the whole club - myself and the staff. I don't think he was expecting it. We hoped it would happen because he has been in good form."
England also have injuries worries in defence as John Terry pulled out of Chelsea's Premier League game against Sunderland on Sunday.
The club revealed their captain suffered a nerve problem in training on Saturday that led to "pain in a glut and hamstring muscle".