Feb 26 2012
Stuart Pearce has been given a swift lesson in international management after three of his players were ruled out of England's friendly with Holland on Wednesday.
Following the ankle injury Darren Bent suffered in Aston Villa's goalless draw with Wigan on Saturday that Alex McLeish confirmed would prevent his participation, Manchester United pair Wayne Rooney and Tom Cleverley were sidelined on Sunday.
Neither man was able to play for the Premier League champions in their win over Norwich at Carrow Road. Rooney has not recovered from a throat infection and Cleverley has an ankle injury.
"Very disappointed not to be joining up with the England squad tonight," said Cleverley on Twitter. "And again, it isn't a recurrence of the injury, it's the other leg."
It continues the spate of bad luck Cleverley has endured with the senior squad. He was earmarked to make his debut in the August friendly against Holland only for the match to be called off due to the London riots.
After not being used in the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales in September, Cleverley has not been fit since but just one game after his return from injury this month, was selected by Pearce and had been tipped to play in the rearranged game against the Dutch this week.
That will not happen now, leaving the 23-year-old just two games - against Norway and Belgium - to make his mark before the final Euro 2012 squad has to be submitted.
Pearce opted not to make any official announcement about his squad on Sunday evening. However, with both Rooney and Bent missing, he is left with just Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Fraizer Campbell from the strikers he originally selected.
That chronic shortage of numbers will surely trigger at least one replacement, although Pearce does have the option of selecting Steven Gerrard or Ashley Young in advanced attacking roles.
The alternatives would be to draft in additional bodies, with Liverpool's Andy Carroll a more likely alternative that Peter Crouch, who scored for Stoke in their win over Swansea, and Jermain Defoe given the relatively youthful nature of his squad.