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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Friday, 27 March 2009

Capello hits back in King dispute

England boss Fabio Capello (right) wanted to see Ledley King's injury for himself
England boss Fabio Capello (right) wanted to see King's injury for himself

England boss Fabio Capello insists he had every right to pick Tottenham defender Ledley King in his initial squad to face Slovakia and Ukraine.

King has chronic knee problems which limit his appearances and his call-up angered Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

But Capello, who later allowed King to leave the England camp, said: "I should be able to check all my players.

"Ledley was not injured last week. It was important for me to speak to him and hear what my medical people say."

Capello believes Redknapp's criticism was unjust, especially given that King's Tottenham's team-mate Alan Hutton has been called up by Scotland manager George Burley having only just returned to the reserve team following four months out with a foot injury.

"Harry Redknapp has spoken about the England team, but Alan Hutton is in the Scotland squad after being out for a number of months. But that has not been mentioned," added Capello.

"I do not understand why this is the case."


Redknapp has insisted he is not standing in the way of King's England career and offered to drive the 28-year-old to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa if he was picked.

"If he was going to do that he should set off now - it is a long way in a car," laughed the England boss.

"Without doubt, King is one of the best central defenders in England. If he was fit, Redknapp would not need to make the journey. King could come with us."

BBC Sport understands King's knee problem means he is unable to train with the rest of his Spurs team-mates throughout the week.

He exercises in a swimming pool and on a bike between Monday and Thursday, and only joins the rest of the squad on Friday to go through tactics, formation and set-piece strategy.

And after the centre-back has played a match, his knee swells to three times its normal size.

All I am trying to do is look after my player's interests

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

"He could overdo it for England and with Spurs and in eight months' time be on the scrapheap," Redknapp told the Sun.

"I'd love to see him play for England. But he simply cannot play two games in a week."

He added: "I had the Spurs physios on the phone, panicking, when Ledley was picked for the England squad.

"Each week it is a hard job to manage the inevitable swelling that blows up after a match.

"They are dedicated to nursing Ledley along and as a result this season we hope to get 30 games out of him.

"Last season he played four, so I guess we must be doing something right at Tottenham.

"The England medical staff took one look at Ledley's knee and finally realised the full situation.

"I'm relieved they have seen sense and accepted what the doctors, medics and myself here at Tottenham have been saying all along."

I don't want Ledley to retire from international football but him playing next week wouldn't have helped him at all

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp

However, Redknapp is eager to make it clear that he wants to see King add to his 19 England caps - and also play in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa.

"I don't want Ledley to retire from international football," said Redknapp. "But him playing next week wouldn't have helped him at all.

"If he'd played against Slovakia on Saturday he wouldn't be able to play against Ukraine on the following Wednesday. And he would still be touch and go for Spurs the Saturday after.

"All I am trying to do is look after my player's interests and I hope to get another four or five years out of him for Spurs and maybe for England.

"And nobody would be happier than me to see Ledley lifting the World Cup trophy with England."

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see also
Redknapp defends stance over King
26 Mar 09 |  Tottenham
Injured duo miss England training
25 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Terry places focus on discipline
27 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Capello awards King shock call-up
22 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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