Was Fabio Capello’s punt always going to end in tears?

Ledley King’s World Cup dreams appears to be coming to an abrupt end before ever actually starting, after the defender suffered yet another injury whilst playing against the US this past Saturday.

The England centre-back managed to play only just 45 minutes before eventually being substituted for Jamie Carragher, which raises a few questions. Was Capello’s decision to include King in his final 23 man squad a correct one? Or has the Italian gambled, and evidently wasted a valuable space by taking the centre-back to South Africa?

King’s recent injury (although not connected to his long-term knee problem) would have no doubt reignited the debate of whether the defender should have been included in the squad in the first place by Capello. The England coach told the gathering media of the defender’s set-back:

“Ledley has a problem with his abductor muscle and will not play in the next game.”

The England centre-back has officially been ruled of the group C clash against Algeria this Friday, and recent reports suggest that the player’s groin injury may take up to three weeks to heal, which has left King’s World Cup dreams in on the rocks. The man likely to take his place, Jamie Carragher, told Sky Sports of King’s dismay:

“Losing Ledley is a blow. He is a top player and it is unfortunate because it is the same position as Rio. You can’t bring anyone else out now, so any injury is going to hurt the squad. But the manager (Fabio Capello ) picked five centre-backs in the squad because he knew there could be problems and his selections have been proved right.”

The Spurs man is not known to have a great fitness level, and as such, stuggled to get game time. Nevertheless, Capello decided to take him to South Africa as he is undoubtedly one of the finest defenders England have to offer.

Capello’s theory behind King’s inclusion was that the player would be a back-up option in the defensive department. Certainly King himself knew that when boarding the plane that he was only a contingency plan, should John Terry or Rio Ferdinand have been unfit, suffered an injury or stricken by a virus. Ferdinand did have fitness problems prior to the start of the World Cup, and unexpectedly suffered knee ligament damage during an England training session. Ferdinand was ruled out so King stepped in.

To be fair King did perform well against USA, but with every touch, run and tackle England fans and maybe even Capello were genuinely worried that the centre-back was going to pull a muscle and sadly he did…a gamble which backfired by the England coach? You better believe it.

Capello could have left King home and instead opted for either Gary Cahill or Ryan Shawcross. However, these two centre-backs are still very young and have only been capped at U-21 level for their country, so to take either one of them would have been a crazy decision by the Italian.

King was unfortunate to pick up yet another injury, although, it was pretty much written in the stars, wasn’t it? Taking all this into consideration, should King have been included in the England squad this summer, despite his injury-prone status? Yes. Secondly, did Capello waste a space on the England plane in regards to the defender? Not really. Thirdly and more importantly, were there better options available to the England coach to consider? Many would think not.

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