Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday February 5 2013
O.K. So there`s another bout of money spinning international friendlies taking place this midweek. So this thread will chart who`s playing, who`s not playing, who`s lying in a crumpled heap on the floor, who`s scoring and everything else.
The call ups:
Santi Cazorla is in the Spain squad to face Paraguay in Doha, Qatar. I think given his fitness problems at present, we can rule him out of a start against Sunderland.
Tomas Rosicky is in the Czech Republic squad to play Turkey in Manisaspor.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere are in the England squad to face Brazil at Wembley. Kieran Gibbs is out with injury. With Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge unavailable, there`s a chance Theo could play upfront alongside Wayne Rooney.
'I have had limited opportunities and every time I have come away with England I have managed to get injured, which has set me back slightly.
'But I am only 23. I have four goals and 30 caps. Not many people get 30 caps at my age.
'I am very pleased with the way things are going. It is a slow process but, if I can get my club form going with England, I will be on top of my game.
'I will play anywhere for England. Things are going quite well for Arsenal on the right but Daniel and Jermain are both out so there is an opportunity (with England).
'That is the manager's choice. I trained up front today with Wayne so you never know.
'I will play anywhere for England and Arsenal but I do believe I'm a striker and I'm sure in the next few years I'll be playing a bit more regularly.'
Andrey Arshavin is not in Russia`s squad to face Iceland in Marbella and Thomas Vermaelen isn`t fit for Belgium`s friendly against Slovakia.
Wojciech Szczesny is in the Poland squad to face Republic of Ireland in Dublin`s Aviva Stadium.
Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Bacary Sagna are in contention to play against clubmates Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker as France play Germany in Le Stade de France.
Aaron Ramsey lines up for Wales against Austria in the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff. Benik Afobe will play for England U-21s.
Just by way of comparison, Saturday`s opponents Sunderland have the following away on international duty:
David Bardsley and Steven Fletcher will play for Scotland against Estonia at Aberdeen`s Pittodrie. Sebastien Larsson will play for Sweden against Argentina in Gothenburg, John O`Shea, Kieran Westwood and James McLean are all in the Eire squad to play Poland in Dublin and Simon Mignolet is in the Belgium squad to play Slovakia in Bruges. Connor Wickham is in the squad for England U-21s against Sweden.
Benik Afobe played the first 45 minutes of England U-21s 4-0 win over Sweden U-21s. He was replaced by Sunderland's Connor Wickham at half time and Wickham helped himself to a second half goal. Chuba Akpom scored twice for England U-19s in their 3-1 win over Denmark.
Santi Cazorla started and played 69 minutes of Spain's 3-1 win over Uruguay in Doha. Nacho Monreal came on as an 80th minute substitute in that game.
Jack Wilshere played 90 minutes and won man of the match as England beat Brazil 2-1 at Wembley. Theo Walcott played 75 minutes before being replaced by Aaron Lennon.
Aaron Ramsey was a late pull out with a calf injury so took no part in Wales' 2-1 win over Austria.
More bad news too as Laurent Koscielny came off at half time with a calf injury in France's game against Germany. Olivier Giroud came on as an 80th minute substitute for France in that game. Podolski played 67 minutes. Bacary Sagna and Per Mertesacker played 90 minutes. Germany were 2-1 victors.
Wojciech Szczesny replaced Aartur Boruc at half time as Poland went down to Eire 2-0 in Dublin.
For Sunderland, Sebastien Larsson played 90 minutes of Sweden's 3-2 defeat to Argentina. Steven Fletcher played an hour of Scotland's 1-0 win over Estonia. John O'Shea played 90 minutes for Eire against Poland, James McLean played 45 minutes in that game.
Ramsey and Koscielny look the big worries for Arsenal, especially the latter, though Vermaelen was on the bench for Belgium tonight. Not quite sure what playing 68 minutes in Qatar will have done for Cazorla's knock either.
Date:Tuesday February 5 2013
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