WORLD CUP 2010: James Milner beats virus to let England boss Fabio Capello decide between all 23 players for USA clash


James Milner is in contention to face the United States on Saturday night after recovering from illness to train with England in Rustenburg.

The Aston Villa midfielder had been laid low for three days with a virus after impressing in Monday's 3-0 win against South African league side the Platnum Stars.

England captain Steven Gerrard (front)

In the running: Captain Gerrard (front) leads all his England team-mates in training at the Rustenburg Stadium

But Fabio Capello was able to put all 23 of his squad through their paces during a session at the Rustenburg Stadium little more than 24 hours before their Group C bow.

Tottenham defender Ledley King, whose training time is limited, was also able to take part at the arena where England will face their transatlantic rivals at 7.30pm on Saturday.

Capello has kept his cards very close to his chest in terms of team selection. The Italian has confirmed he knows what his line-up will be but is not believed to have told the players its make-up.

The most up-for-grabs place is between the posts, with little perceived to be between the merits of David James, Joe Hart and Robert Green.

Milner's return makes it a straight decision between him and free agent Joe Cole for a place on the left.

Enlarge   Rio Ferdinand

Lonely figure: Injured captain Rio Ferdinand watches his team-mates train

And the question of who will partner Wayne Rooney up front is also looming, with Peter Crouch more prolific but Emile Heskey often seen as the Manchester United man's favourite foil.

However, there are suggestions that both could be sacrificed in favour of playing an extra midfielder, which would give both Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard more licence to attack from deep.

Meanwhile, Capello believes his team are capable of reaching the World Cup final ahead of Saturday's opening game with the United States in Rustenburg.

Capello confirmed midfielder Gareth Barry will be among the England substitutes after recovering from the ankle injury he suffered on duty with Manchester City towards the end of last season.

The Italian was in a confident mood ahead of the meeting with Bob Bradley's side.

He said:'England are ready for this match. The first game is always hard because expectation levels are really big. But we have been here eight days, training has gone very well and we are confident.

Enlarge   England boss Fabio Capello

Keeping watch: England boss Capello monitors his troops

'We know the expectation levels of the fans is really good. But I am sure the team can reach the final. I genuinely believe we have a squad that can make it to the final.'

Capello confirmed he knows his starting line-up but will not reveal it to the players until two hours before kick-off.

He said: 'I will not tell the players who is playing until two hours before the game, which is what I always do. The reason I do that is because if you name the side overnight and then someone is injured, it is not easy to recall the other player who was not originally picked.

'What I am looking for is the same spirit that England showed in qualification games for the World Cup. I want us to be really compact on the pitch. These players are physically fine and their minds are very focused on this game coming up. They have a lot of desire and appetite to do well. The players here are the best English players. I am confident.'

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