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By ESPN Staff

Capello: Welbeck selection no trick

Fabio Capello has denied handing Danny Welbeck his England debut in Tuesday night's 1-1 friendly draw just to steer him away from Ghana's clutches.

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Welbeck was only called into Capello's squad on the morning of the match following the withdrawal of Aaron Lennon through injury.

Yet, along with Wolves' Matt Jarvis, Welbeck was still given his first taste of international action in the 1-1 draw with the World Cup quarter-finalists who he is also eligible for.

In itself, it will not prevent him playing for Ghana as tonight's encounter was a friendly. However, Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic said after the match Welbeck has "chosen England" and the visiting supporters gave loud boos when the Manchester United youngster, who is having such an excellent season on loan at Sunderland, made his entrance.

"Absolutely not,'' said Capello, when asked whether he was merely blocking Ghana from picking Welbeck in the future. I work for England. I always select the best players for England. Yesterday, Aaron Lennon was injured. That is why I picked Welbeck.''

In truth, the striker has been mentioned often enough as a potential England striker, with Sir Alex Ferguson predicting at the start of last season that Welbeck would end up at the World Cup.

"Danny Welbeck is going to be a very important player for England and Manchester United,'' said Capello. "I monitored him last year. He was an important player then. I went to see him three times but then he got injured. However, he is a really good player.''

The Welbeck issue added controversy to a fabulous evening, which dispelled the theory of Wembley playing host to a meaningless friendly.

Backed by 21,000 noisy supporters, who created a magnificent atmosphere, Ghana contributed to an excellent game.

It was certainly hard to begrudge them their injury-time equaliser as Asamoah Gyan slalomed his way into the England box before cancelling out Andy Carroll's first-half opener.

A Geordie, who plays for Liverpool and wears the England number nine shirt, Carroll has a lot to live up to.

However, he has made an excellent start to his international career, finding the net on only his second appearance, although whether it is an achievement worth toasting, Capello, who warned Carroll yesterday that he needed to curb his drinking, refused to say.

"It is a question for Kenny Dalglish,'' said Capello. "It is important for the strikers to score goals. He was the same player tonight that I saw before he got injured. He ran a lot but he needs games. He is a big person, so it is impossible for him to recover quickly, like Jack Wilshere or Aaron Lennon.''

Carroll's was just one of a number of pleasing performances that kept the crowd entertained. Stewart Downing and Ashley Young also turned in outstanding displays, leaving Capello well pleased.

"I am really happy because I saw a fantastic game,'' he said. "It was not a friendly game. Every tackle was a fight. The players did very well and the new players did very well. It is interesting for me to know the value of the players when they have a match at Wembley.''

The result and competitiveness of the contest overshadowed the debate over Capello's decision to release five of his senior players, with Ghana coach Stevanovic still staying out of the argument.

"I said yesterday I don't want to speak about the players who are not here. We missed Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng,'' he said. "The fans here enjoyed a fantastic game. England were the better team in the first half but we performed fantastically in the second. It is a good result. England at Wembley after all the travelling is very tough. I am sure and I believe Michael Essien will be with us in the next game.''

Stevanovic had words of regret over England debutant Welbeck.

"I asked for him various times,'' Stevanovic said. "Unfortunately he has chosen England. It is bad news for us but I wish him all the best.''


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