Tottenham defender Ledley King has left the England squad after the national team's medics decided to take no risks with the player's health. King was called up by boss Fabio Capello following his outstanding club form. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was less than happy with the decision as it would have meant the player missing his team's next Premier League fixture.
King's knee is so damaged he takes part in no training sessions with his team-mates and instead follows a unique training programme based around swimming, stretching and cycling.
“Both parties agreed the best interests of the player are served by continuing his individual training programme at the club,” said a Football Association statement.
“Ledley King has returned to Spurs Lodge to continue his rehabilitation over the course of the international break, following discussions and assessments overnight by the medical staff of both the club and the England national team.”
The return effectively signals the end of King’s England career in its implicit acknowledgement that his knee could not stand up to the demands of international tournaments.
King, described by Steven Gerrard as a “fantastic player”, leaves the rest of the England squad to prepare for Saturday’s friendly with Slovakia which is swiftly followed by Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.
But they’re not the only people getting ready for the double-header, so too is the Nationwide FSF Fans’ Embassy team. They will be around Wembley handing out the FSF’s England fanzine Free Lions before both games.
Fans at the game can get their hands on a free copy but if you’d like to receive a preview, and enter exclusive competitions, sign up to the E-Lions newsletter (see left). E-Lions is sent before every England game and can prove especially handy for those travelling to see England abroad who are first to see the Free Lions Fans’ Guide.