England coach Fabio Capello has risked the wrath of Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez after insisting that Steven Gerrard report for duty ahead of Wednesday’s friendly in Germany, despite apparently being ruled out by his club for up to 10 days with a torn muscle in his right leg.
Gerrard collected the injury during Saturday’s 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool’s doctors ruled him out of the international match in Berlin.
Gerrard will be assessed by Football Association medical staff before a final decision on his availability is reached later on Monday.
The Liverpool captain played the full 90 minutes in the 2-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers on Saturday and may play in the next Premier League game against Fulham on Saturday after the club’s spokesman, Ian Cotton, said the injury would keep him out “between seven to 10 days”.
Chelsea and England captain John Terry is also being assessed following the foot injury he picked up during Chelsea’s 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.
An FA spokesman said: “John Terry and Steven Gerrard have both reported to the team hotel tonight [Sunday] and will be assessed tomorrow [Monday] by the England medical staff.”
The decision to assess Gerrard will no doubt re-ignite the club versus country row and the dispute will escalate if England’s doctor’s declare the Liverpool skipper fit to play in Germany.
This is the first time that Capello has exercised his right under FIFA rules to have his own medical staff examine a player whose club claim is injured.
The England manager has been hit by a host of withdrawals among senior players for the prestige friendly.
The Italian was already without Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand, who missed Manchester United’s victory over Stoke with calf and back injuries respectively, and will also be without Chelsea’s Ashley and Joe Cole, who continue their recoveries from hamstring problems. Also missing is Wes Brown (ankle) and Emile Heskey (calf) and it is likely that five of the side who started England’s last match, the 3-1 qualifying win in Belarus last month, will be absent against Germany.