England, the USA's first opponent at the 2010 World Cup, has personnel problems according to Kevin McCarra, who points out that when Coach Fabio Capello watches a club game his gaze must be fixed on national team players "who are not there." During last weekend's English Premier League action, Michael Carrick was on the bench, serving his sentence for the mistake that tipped the Champions League series toward Bayern Munich. Also absent were Rio Ferdinand (groin injury) and Wes Brown (toe).
Ferdinand, the England captain, has played in just 11 of Man U's 35 Premier League games. Man City's Shaun Wright-Phillips started on the bench against Man U. Goalkeeper Ben Foster, who got consecutive starts for England in the fall, has been dropped by Man U. Chelsea's Ashley Cole is still out injured.
Things look better in the midfield: Steven Gerrard is afflicted by nothing more than nondescript form at toiling Liverpool. Frank Lampard has come through some flat spells but is scoring again. But the wide positions are a concern, with Aaron Lennon still sidelined at Tottenham and Theo Walcott, despite a sharp goal at Wigan, yet to be a principal figure at Arsenal.