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Friday, 24 May, 2002, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
England doomed without midfield stars?
Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy is the latest England player to withdraw from the World Cup through injury.

Will England's growing sick list cost them dear?


Murphy has become the third England player to break a bone in his foot, after David Beckham and Gary Neville suffered similar injuries.

He was only in the squad as a replacement for Steven Gerrard, and coach Sven-Goran Eriksson must now draft in another replacement.

With Murphy and Gerrard definitely out and continuing doubts over Beckham, Nicky Butt and Kieron Dyer, England's midfield is looking decidedly under strength.

Can they kiss their World Cup hopes goodbye?

Have your say


Get Roy Keane playing - I believe he is free!
Diane Horrocks, England

England were doomed regardless, at least the loss of several players will give them a convenient excuse for their failure.
Peter, Norway

England will miss the players that really could have helped them win the World Cup. But still have faith we have some fantastic youth in the team and if David Beckham makes it we still have a great chance.
Mike Good, England

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Murphy should never have been in the World Cup squad to begin with
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Paul Gourley, Northern Ireland
A midfield of Beckham, Butt, Scholes and another will be one of the best in the World Cup. Let's face it, Beckham, Scholes and Butt have won everything there is to win in Europe over the past few years. They are at their peaks. Cole or Dyer with these three could win us the World Cup.
John A Brett, England

How many of these injured players would really be in the starting line-up though? Only Beckham and Neville and Beckham might yet be fit for the first game. There is no way that players such as Danny Murphy would be in the starting line-up against Argentina.

This will be good for England. It will give us the underdog status, lull the opposition into a false sense of security, and will see players who have a point to prove and will be fighting to retain a regular England place play out of their skins. Winners? Probably not. But World Cups are about luck, so you never know.
Andrew, New Zealand

Open Quote
England cannot go past the first round, injuries have saved them embarrassment
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Arulsan, Singapore
Considering England's chances have now diminished so greatly, I was shocked to see that Murphy was replaced with Sinclair. No disrespect to Sinclair, but surely it would be more beneficial to take David Dunn, a younger player, who surely has a great future in the England set up.
Marc, England

With or without injuries, England cannot go past the first round, injuries have saved them embarrassment.
Arulsan, Singapore

I am getting increasingly frustrated by the press coverage of this world cup and it hasn't even started yet. There are 23 players and one manager who definitely believes we have what it takes to lift the cup, ask David Beckham, David Seaman, Sven Goran Eriksson et al if we can win the world cup, I know what their answers would be.
Dave Ellis, England

Murphy should never have been in the World Cup squad to begin with. He simply is not good enough and was very poor against S.Korea. Lee Bowyer should have been drafted in and David Dunn should also be there. I'm not convinced Sinclair is good enough for international duty either.
Paul Gourley, Northern Ireland

I believe that everyone raises their game for the big event and Sinclair has been given the chance to show his talent and consistency. If he can overcome the nerves of the big stage then he will do well and we should all get behind him and the rest of the team.
Duncan, UK

The current injury crisis shows England's alarming lack of depth - and not just in midfield, but in all areas of the pitch. It is hard to see where goals will come from if Owen were to suffer an injury.

Open Quote
Everyone raises their game for the big event and Sinclair has been given the chance to show his talent
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Duncan, UK

Whilst we have made significant progress under Sven Goran Erikson's management, we are a long way off winning a major international tournament and our focus must be towards 2006 and beyond.

We should give every opportunity to skillfull young players such as Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves who carry England's future hopes.
Stuart Gray, England

We need experience, skill & strength. Call up Darren Anderton!
Brian Reeves, UK

Beckham will have to play like he did against Greece if were to have any chance in controlling the play in the middle. Joe Cole could end up playing a major role now, with Heskey filling in a Left Back to try and steady the ship. Let's keep the belief get behind them!
Chris, England

Are England under some kind of curse? How many more injuries are we going to get before the World Cup begins? When fielding our first choice XI, England can take on anyone with confidence. We don't, however, have any strength in depth.

Trevor Sinclair is a decent enough player, but he is not World Cup material. Our chances of progressing from the group stages are wearing thin. If David Beckham suffers a setback during his recuperation, then the task will be almost insurmountable.
Thomas Skinner, England

Open Quote
Losing punters like Murphy will not make any difference to our overall performance
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Chris, London

With or without our talented midfield, England were never destined to win the Cup. The European Cup is a more realistic objective, and England can use this tournament to break in their promising youngsters.
Jennifer Debono, Malta

I'm going to buck the trend and say that our midfield will be stronger now that Cole and Hargreaves are certain starters. Any more injuries and we're in trouble.
Matt Fensome, England

Danny Murphy, a tenacious, bulldog of a midfielder! Unfortunately these qualities don't give him the right to play in an England shirt - especially when there are players available who posses offensive initiative, tactical ability and the noodle not to kick the opposition into their dressing room.

Logic has little sway with managers who allow their personal feelings to get in the way of choosing a winning team but statistics, form and common sense all point to a few Englishmen that can still help with Sven's midfield problems: David Dunn, Ray Parlour and Steve McManaman.
David Reading, England

Open Quote
Someone with more experience than Trevor Sinclair should have been drafted in - preferably Parlour
Close Quote
Ben, England

Owen Hargreaves has played at the highest level with Bayern Munich. With Hargreaves and Scholes in the centre, England will have a strong midfield. Given a chance, Bridge, Cole and Heskey can cover the left flank. My main worry is the lack of cover for Beckham on the right with Murphy also out.

Sinclair has been unimpressive for England and I feel that someone with more experience should have been drafted in, preferably Parlour. McManaman's comments that he is better than some of those picked ahead of him show that he would undermine team spirit.
Ben, England

Why are we surprised at the level of injuries suffered by the England team? This is an indirect result of playing too much football in a season. Perhaps the League authorities could be persuaded to hold the Worthington Cup or whatever it's called now only in years when there is no World Cup or European Cup.
Mark, England

When England were winning 5-1 in Germany, did anybody care who was on the subs bench? As long as Beckham, Butt and Dyer recover in time - which Sven clearly thinks they will - I don't see why losing punters like Murphy will not make any difference to our overall performance.
Chris, London

Open Quote
It is time to call up Anderton and McManaman
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Peter Carpenter, UK

Just one injury this close to the World Cup is a disaster, but three? I don't know about you but I can feel England's chances slipping away.
Paul, England

The team will be weaker, but this is the chance for England's youngsters to come through and show that they can deal with the pressure and skill level of the World Cup. The likes of Ashley Cole, Joe Cole and Kieron Dyer will be able to show their true talent on the world stage.
Jamie Gibbs and James Marshall, England

England have no midfield, only individuals. In light of all these injuries, it is time to call up Anderton and McManaman.
Peter Carpenter, UK

With the loss of Gerrard it is very important to get behind the team. If we can turn Germany over, we can turn anybody over.
Matt Jakes, England

England will suffer from having so many injured players. The English FA are the people to blame. The Premiership season should be re-scheduled so that players have time to recuperate, especially before the biggest cup competition in the world.
Ian, England

Open Quote
The loss of Gerrard is the worst thing that could have happened to England
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Barry Walsh, England
Gerrard's absence will be sorely felt. It will be just as damaging if Kieron Dyer fails to get fit in time. He provides the pace, control and passing skills that let the forwards have a go at goal
Pete B, England

It was pretty obvious that Eriksson had picked a squad laden with injury-prone players in key positions... Keown, Gerrard and Owen are three - fine, that's his choice, but I can hardly see the point in gambling on unproven players such as Dyer too... it's a waste of a squad place.
Robert Crosby, UK

It would be an insult to the team to suggest that England are doomed, though I do agree that the loss of Gerrard is the worst thing that could have happened to England. He is the best player we have, a true all-round complete player.
Barry Walsh, England

England lack the world class strength-in-depth of, say, France and Argentina and Gerrard was one of only several truly world class players in the squad. Sven Goran Eriksson is not going to be able to play his first eleven at any time during the tournament.

Open Quote
I personally hope that Joe Cole gets the chance to shine
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Arran, UK
Inevitably England will be unable to make the kind of impact in Japan that was possible with a fully fit midfield available for selection. Unfortunately we are facing another world cup of grit and passion with little to show for our efforts.
Terry McFadden, England


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