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England get clean bill of health

Fabio Capello breathed a sigh of relief last night after it was confirmed all 24 members of his squad for the Euro 2012 qualifiers with Bulgaria and Switzerland are fit enough to remain at England HQ.

The Three Lions gathered for their first competitive fixtures since the disastrous World Cup campaign with major question marks over the fitness of Phil Jagielka and Spurs duo Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.

Jagielka (pictured) suffered a bruised foot during Everton's defeat at Aston Villa on Monday, while Crouch was forced out of Tottenham's home loss to Wigan with a sore rib and Defoe has a long-standing groin complaint manager Harry Redknapp felt would require surgery.

However, the word coming out of England's Watford training base last night is that all three players are to remain within camp.

Although that cannot be taken as confirmation any, or all, of them will be fit for Friday night's encounter with a Bulgaria side adjusting to life without star man Dimitar Berbatov it does mean they have a chance of being involved at some stage.

It is a major bonus for Capello, who lost influential Chelsea pair John Terry and Frank Lampard to weekend injuries and already has to cope with skipper Rio Ferdinand being on the sidelines after the freak knee ligament problem he sustained before the World Cup began.

Jagielka in particular would be regarded as a certainty to start on Friday if he is fit, although in drafting Matthew Upson into his squad, Capello has given himself experienced cover in addition to Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill, who have just one cap between them.

Belfast Telegraph

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