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England To Play Mexico at Wembley

IRDNING, AUSTRIA - MAY 19: The England squad warm up during an England training session on May 19, 2010 in Irdning, Austria.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images
Ed WymanCorrespondent IMay 24, 2010

England takes on Mexico at Wembley tonight in the first of two friendlies before the start of the FIFA World Cup.

Fabio Capello has announced that those who played in the FA Cup Final will not feature, as their condition needs to be assessed. This gives Capello a chance to “experiment.”

He has said that he will gave half a match to both Joe Hart and Robert Green saying that all three of the goalkeepers are "very equal" in the race to be England's first choice goalkeeper.

The absence of Chelsea players means that Ledley King could win his first cap in three years alongside Rio Ferdinand at centre back. Ashley Cole's absence means that Leighton Baines should start at left back with Glen Johnson at right back.

With Gareth Barry injured and Lampard not playing, there will be a weakened midfield. Tom Huddlestone may be handed a start after impressing for Tottenham this season. Michael Carrick may also feature.

Steven Gerrard will likely play in either position behind two strikers or in a standard 4-4-2, but Capello has also been talking about playing three centre backs in training which would see England play a 3-5-2 formation.

Wayne Rooney who "always wants to play" could play solo up front, or more likely play as part of a duo. 

The surface will play a role. The Wembley surface has been relaid 11 times since the 2007 reopening and this season it has been under a lot of scrutiny. The FA Cup semi-finals saw players slipping everywhere. The final went better, but there were still issues. 

The problem hasn't been solved yet; last weekend the Championship play-off saw Gary Taylor-Fletcher twist his ankle.

England will be highly motivated, especially with fringe players fighting for a ticket to South Africa. At the same time they will be desperate not to suffer any injuries, as Capello will only be taking those who are fit to play.

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