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Page last updated at 12:01 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 13:01 UK

Heskey pulls out of England squad

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: England v Ukraine
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Wednesday, 1 April Kick-off: 2000 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online, live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles. Live on ITV1

Cole (left) and Heskey are both out of England's game against Ukraine
Cole (left) and Heskey are both out of England's game against Ukraine

Emile Heskey has been ruled out of England's match against Ukraine on Wednesday after withdrawing from the squad because of a hamstring injury.

Heskey limped off during Saturday's 4-0 win against Slovakia, as did fellow strikers Carlton Cole and Peter Crouch.

England had already called up Tottenham striker Darren Bent to replace the injured Cole, and boss Fabio Capello may now call for another replacement.

Crouch is expected to be fit for the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

Capello has already ruled out Michael Owen or Kevin Davies joining the squad.

He explained his decision to leave out the experienced Owen, who has 40 goals from 89 internationals, saying: "I have to choose players to play against Ukraine, not against history.

"If Michael Owen will play in the future, three or four games, he will be with us. But you have to choose the players who have played a lot of games.

"It is impossible to choose one player that played only 20 minutes. Why didn't he player longer in the last game? Because he was dropped.

"So I have to choose the players in good form. I choose the best players who are in a very fantastic moment."

The Italian added that Rio Ferdinand could have played against Slovakia but that he decided not to risk the defender, who had a groin problem, while Shaun Wright-Phillips has resumed training and will also be available.

But Cole, who replaced Heskey after 15 minutes but lasted just 20 himself, is definitely out with a thigh problem.

Bent has won four caps for England and was part of the England team that won in Germany last November.


England could deploy Wayne Rooney as a lone striker against Ukraine at Wembley and ask Steven Gerrard to play a supporting role, but Capello is not revealing his thinking just yet.

"At the moment we don't know," added the Italian, who was delighted with Rooney's two-goal salvo against the Slovaks.

After joking that the Manchester United striker was "crazy" prior to the Slovakia game, the England coach remarked: "I hope he will always be crazy like this evening.

"I am very happy for him, he played very well, scored two goals and is a very important player for us.

"His movement with Gerrard was very good, both when we were attacking and defending and I was delighted.

"Rooney can play anywhere. If our team were a pack of cards, he would be our joker."

see also
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Terry tips Rooney for caps record
29 Mar 09 |  Internationals
England 4-0 Slovakia
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
International football as it happened
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Beckham reaches new caps landmark
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Saturday's football photos
28 Mar 09 |  Football

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