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 May 9, 2002 | 1800 IST

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Joe Cole in squad as Eriksson backs youth

Trevor Huggins

Midfielders Joe Cole and Owen Hargreaves were named in England's World Cup squad on Thursday as Sven-Goran Eriksson put his faith in the country's youth.

The England manager, who expects to have the youngest squad at the finals in South Korea and Japan, named a 23-man squad led by David Beckham and including the captain's Manchester United team mate Wes Brown.

"We have some difficult matches but an extremely exciting time ahead of us," Eriksson told the FA website as he prepared for Group F games against Sweden, Argentina and Nigeria.

"I am happy to name this squad and looking forward to meeting up with the players on Monday."

Sven-Goran Eriksson Despite the youthful look, there is experience in key positions with Arsenal central defender Martin Keown, 35, winning a place ahead of Liverpool's Jamie Carragher and 36-year-old forward Teddy Sheringham also named.

Defender Phil Neville misses out, a blow for the Neville family after regular right back Gary was sidelined for the finals with a broken foot. Beckham is also recovering from a similar injury.

Real Madrid midfielder Steve McManaman loses out to Newcastle United's exciting Kieron Dyer for the position England have had problems filling on the left side of midfield.

The squad broadly reflects the strength of England's top three clubs with champions Arsenal and Manchester United supplying four players each and Liverpool three, including strikers Michael Owen and Emile Heskey.


Leeds United, despite a disappointing season, also provide four players.

Ten of the squad are survivors of England's 1998 World Cup campaign in France.

There was no surprise between the posts where first-choice David Seaman, 38, is picked, along with David James and Nigel Martyn.

Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge will cover the left side in defence, while Gary Neville's absence has handed a place in the squad to combative Leeds right-back Danny Mills.

Mills told his club's website: "I'd like to think I can play as well as anyone in Gary's spot. It's my preferred position and if I do get the nod from Mr Eriksson I'm confident I won't let him down."

The first-choice central defensive pairing will be Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell, with Gareth Southgate and Martin Keown as alternatives.

Brown, a promising talent who has fought back from injury this season, can play in central defence or on the right.

Beckham, who should be fit for England's opening match against Sweden on June 2, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Dyer represent Eriksson's first-choice midfield.

Dyer told the Newcastle website: "With this being my first World Cup it's going to be a tremendous thrill for me, and hopefully, if it goes well, the highlight of my career so far".


Cole, the 20-year-old who mesmerised the defence of fellow finalists Paraguay in a 4-0 friendly win last month, is available to provide creative spark, while Hargreaves, just a year older, has already won his spurs at Bayern Munich.

The Canadian-born midfielder is the only squad member currently playing outside the English premier league.

Up front, Owen and Heskey will start, but Fowler, Sheringham and 21-year-old Darius Vassell, with two goals in three games for his country, all provide alternatives.

Eriksson's faith in youth means his squad has an average age of 26.3, and 25.1 among the outfield players.

Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has been placed on standby.

Eriksson was due to discuss his squad at a news conference in London later on Thursday.

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