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England news

Fit-again Barry wants to avoid Germany

June 15, 2010
By Soccernet staff

Fit-again Gareth Barry admits the form of Germany has given England an extra incentive to top their World Cup group.

Gareth Barry took part in training at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus
GettyImagesGareth Barry: Back in full traning and ready to play

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Barry has recovered from his ankle problem and is available for England's June 18 meeting with Algeria in Cape Town, a welcome development for Fabio Capello given the effect his absence has had on the balance of the team.

Barry admits he and his team-mates were impressed with Germany's 4-0 demolition of Australia on Sunday. England will face coach Joachim Low's side in the second round if they finish runners-up in Group C and Germany top Group D - or vice versa.

"We were really impressed with Germany," Barry told BBC Sport. "It always happens. They are always written off and they turn up winning matches. The fact they could be our opponents in the last 16 was discussed.

"We are watching that group really close. It is important we study the opposition. It is an extra incentive to finish top. That is obviously the target anyway but Germany are going to be a tough opponent for anyone.''

Barry said he was looking forward to rekindling his midfield partnership with Frank Lampard, allowing Steven Gerrard to roam in from the left flank.

"The three of us played the majority of games and I think there was a good understanding. Stevie was working from the left but coming centrally and getting forward quite a lot. They both chipped in with their fair share of goals and it really worked well.''

It is a relief to Barry to be involved in his first World Cup finals after being overlooked for 2002 and 2006 by Sven-Goran Eriksson. He admits it was "touch and go'' whether he would recover sufficiently from the ligament damage suffered against Spurs at Eastlands on May 5.

"It has felt like the World Cup was never going to come for me," Barry said. "Midway through the Sven-Goran Eriksson era, my England career and the World Cup looked miles away. When the injury came, it felt like it was one of those things that was not going to happen. It was touch and go but it was important I never stopped believing.

"The ankle has been fine for 10 days. Another week's training in the lead-up to the Algeria game and I should be spot on. If the manager had asked me if I was ready to play against the United States at the weekend, I would have bitten his hand off to try and make the starting team. I was desperate for us to go two or three goals up and then he might have thrown me on!''

Barry insists the mood in the England squad is upbeat despite being held to a 1-1 draw by the United States on Saturday, but he has stressed the need for calm amongst the players ahead of the Cape Town encounter.

Barry said: "The mood in the camp is pretty upbeat. We've had a day or so to think about the events of the USA game. It's important you try to stay calm. Everyone knows this is the World Cup and the pressure comes with that.

"The whole nation is up for it, supporting you, giving fantastic support. But we'll be going into games, if selected, trying to keep calm, not feeling that pressure.''

Barry admits life is enjoyable in the England squad with Capello combining a mixture of discipline and relaxation amongst the players.

"Previous England squads would be more relaxed" Barry said. "Now everyone is 10 minutes early for meetings. Everyone sits down to lunch together. We all leave when the last person has finished.

"The slowest eater always changes but there is always eyes on them saying 'hurry up.' It is fun because at the same time the manager lets us play golf, and he gives us time to relax.''