Euro 2012 qual. - England full strength, Welbeck backs Rio

Tue, 04 Oct 11:53:00 2011

England reported a clean bill of health when they started their preparations for Friday's vital Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro in Podgorica.

Danny Welbeck - 0

All 24 players included in Fabio Capello's squad took part in Tuesday morning's initial training session at Arsenal's London Colney headquarters.

Fulham striker Bobby Zamora and Bursaspor keeper Scott Carson were back in the international fold after earning recalls from Capello.

But it is the likes of Manchester United duo Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones plus Tottenham's Kyle Walker who will have most to play for in the next few days.

Welbeck is amongst the candidates to partner his club team-mate Wayne Rooney up front after scoring five goals in six games this season. He missed last month's victories over Bulgaria and Wales with a hamstring injury.

Jones and Walker look to be in contention for the right-back berth in Chris Smalling's absence with a groin injury, after he started in the role against Bulgaria and Wales.

Walker impressed during the summer European Under-21 Championships and netted the winner for Spurs against Arsenal in Sunday's north London derby.

England need only a point in Montenegro to ensure their automatic qualification for next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Rio Ferdinand was not included in Capello's squad but Welbeck says it would be foolish to write off his Old Trafford colleague.

"We all know what capabilities he's got - he's a Rolls-Royce of a defender," Welbeck said. "It's wrong to write him off. We all know the ability he's got."

Ferdinand had been expected to be included in Capello's squad having recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in August. However, the Italian has decided he is lacking in match practice.

Welbeck would relish forming an all-United strike pairing with Rooney, and said: "He's been on fire, he has started the season scoring goals and creating goals. To be training with him every day is a bonus and I'm going to learn from him.

"He's a great guy to go to for advice, he's always talking to you during training and it's been really beneficial. Because we've been training together for a couple of years now it would work (as a partnership for England)."

PA Sport

Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account