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Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 18:04 UK

Fabio Capello lure tempts Jamie Carragher to England

Carragher explains England decision

Jamie Carragher says the chance to play for England boss Fabio Capello was a "massive" influence in his decision to come out of international retirement.

After three years away, the Liverpool defender, 32, has returned to the England fold and is training in Austria in a bid to make the World Cup squad.

Carragher said: "Capello is one of the best managers in world football.

"I was always asking Steven Gerrard what the manager was like. That was a massive reason behind it."

England are at the first of two camps at altitude in Austria for training before the squad is reduced to 23 on 1 June, the day before the party depart for their South Africa base at Rustenburg.

Carragher was a surprise inclusion in Capello's provisional 30-man squad and, with only one other recognised right-back in the line up - Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson - the versatile defender has a strong chance of making the final 23.

I think going to South Africa is a one-off thing

Jamie Carragher

However, Carragher does not see his England career extending into next season - especially as the opening Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland clashes with his own testimonial on 3 September.

"I think going to South Africa is a one-off thing," he said.

"There was a little injury situation. I am sure that will be cleared up by the start of next season."

Carragher was initially approached by Capello's assistant Franco Baldini a couple of months ago, when injury threatened the participation of both Manchester City's Joleon Lescott and Manchester United defender Wes Brown.

And although Carragher has played the majority of his career at centre-back, his ability to cover either full-back position was seemingly key in Capello's decision to overlook Brown and team-mate Gary Neville as well as Lescott.

But Carragher said he only agreed to end his England exile after satisfying himself he would not have been replacing a player who had made a significant contribution to qualification.

"I am not stupid," Carragher said. "I wouldn't have wanted someone to come in and take my place at the last minute when I had been in the squad for two years.

"At first I was racking my brains, wondering how other players would react if I came back into the squad.

"I only told Steven (Gerrard) and my wife, because we were supposed to be going to Disneyland on Monday, which is now off.

"A few days later I mentioned it to my dad and my son. Everyone was very pleased and desperate for me to go."

Carragher made his England debut as a substitute against Hungary on 28 April 1999 and has won a total of 34 caps. He made the last of his international appearances on 1 June 2007, when England drew 1-1 against Brazil at Wembley.

The Liverpool defender could feature in England's friendly encounter with Mexico on Monday, where he will also face the Wembley crowd.

"I will be fine," insisted Carragher.

"Hopefully I will be involved and get some sort of game."

Meanwhile, Carragher admitted the race to clinch a place in the England World Cup squad has given an added edge to their training sessions.


"It's quite intense in training because people know what's at stake," he explained.

"We keep things to ourselves at the dinner table but every training session you want to impress the coaches."

Turning to his club's turbulent season, Carragher issued a rallying cry, insisting that Liverpool would prosper regardless of who leaves Anfield over the summer.

"I want the people to come back who want to be there," he said.

"If anyone doesn't want to be here, no problem. No-one is bigger than Liverpool Football Club.

"People always talk about players leaving and saying 'this is the end of Liverpool'. No chance.

"Better players than the ones we have now have left and we have replaced them. I am sure we will do well next season."

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see also
England fly out for Austria trip
17 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Thompson named 2018 bid chairman
17 May 10 |  Football
Triesman quits FA & 2018 Cup jobs
16 May 10 |  Football
Capello postpones ratings website
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
Capello names surprise Cup squad
11 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup scouting: centre-backs
23 Mar 10 |  World Cup 2010
Carragher cool on England return
19 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Neville questions Capello squad
18 May 10 |  World Cup 2010

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