England vs USA – Barry could feature in key midfield battle

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Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry could feature for England in their World Cup opener against the USA, which kicks off today at 7.30pm.

Barry has been struggling with an ankle injury for over a month, and although he is back to full fitness, Fabio Capello has confirmed that Barry will not start.

James Milner, meanwhile, has recovered from a virus and the Aston Villa player could also make an appearance from the bench.

The competition for places in midfield is fierce, and while captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard’s places are assured, there is less certainty concerning the other two positions.

Joe Cole is thought to have done enough to earn a starting role, and the out-of-contract Chelsea playmaker is 10/1 to open the scoring against the USA.

The most unpredictable position is the right wing, and there are rumours emerging from the England camp that Shaun Wright-Phillips may dislodge Aaron Lennon.

Capello has already decided on his starting XI, but the Italian won’t tell his players until two hours before kick-off.

The midfield battle will be crucial in this fixture, and as well as nullifying the USA’s threats of Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, Gerrard and Lampard will be expected to break forward.

Lampard is 8/1 to score first, while at 9/1 and inspired by his new responsibility as England captain, Gerrard is a strong contender to open the scoring.

Who do you think will break the deadlock? Wayne Rooney is 3/1 to do so. See the full England vs USA market.

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Robbie Morris

Robbie studied sports journalism at the University of Gloucestershire, an establishment chosen for its proximity to Cheltenham racecourse, where he was a season ticket holder. Upon graduation, Robbie was a contributor to GolfPunk, a national magazine aimed at ridding golf of its traditionalist image, before joining the news.ladbrokes team.