England coach Fabio Capello avoided a row with Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez as he left Steven Gerrard out of his squad for Saturday’s friendly against Brazil in Doha.
Benitez had made it clear on Sunday that he didn’t think Gerrard should be selected as the Liverpool captain has missed several matches with a groin injury suffered during England’s defeat in Ukraine last month.
Gerrard could play some part of Liverpool’s Premier League match against Birmingham on Monday, but Capello has placated Benitez by leaving the star out of the trip to Qatar.
Despite injuries to Emile Heskey and Carlton Cole, there was still no place for Manchester United striker Michael Owen once again as Capello recalled Darren Bent.
The Sunderland striker has been in fine form this season, scoring eight goals for the Black Cats, although he missed a penalty in Saturday’s defeat at Tottenham.
Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Aaron Lennon and David James are all ruled out through injury, while Aston Villa defender Stephen Warnock and Tottenham midfielder Huddlestone come in.
Warnock’s international career has so far amounted to an eight minute substitute appearance in Trinidad last year, while Huddlestone is still to make his senior debut.
Capello has named a 24-man squad, although that number will reduce by one if Los Angeles Galaxy maintain their interest in the MLS play-offs on Sunday by beating Chivas USA because David Beckham would be forced to withdraw to stay with his club.
England squad for Saturday’s friendly against Brazil in Doha:
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Man Utd), Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Man City, on loan at Birmingham)
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Man City), Wes Brown (Man Utd), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Man City), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Man City), David Beckham (LA Galaxy/USA), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)
Note: If LA Galaxy win their MLS play-off on Sunday then David Beckham will be unavailable for selection
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