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Bent and Huddlestone to start against Japan

Darren Bent and Tom Huddlestone are set to start for England in tomorrow’s friendly against Japan. The game will be the last chance for the pair to claim a place in the 23 man World Cup squad which will travel to South Africa.

Fabio Capello will cut seven players from the current 30 man squad next week and Bent are Huddlestone are two of the fringe players still competing for a place. Spurs midfielder Huddlestone played in the 3-1 win over Mexico but Bent missed the game with a hamstring injury.

Bent scored 24 times in the Premier League last season but has struggled to make an impression so far at international level. Huddlestone enjoyed a good season with Spurs and he could be in the frame to replace Gareth Barry who is struggling to be fit in time for the start of the World Cup.

‘I have seen Huddlestone in a lot of games,’ Fabio Capello told reporters. ‘This year he always played very well as a holding player and I am happy because he is here as he is one of the important English players.’

The Italian will make a final decision on Barry’s fitness on 1 June after a final medical check on the midfielder’s ankle injury. ‘He has improved a lot,’ Capello said. He is getting better and better.’

‘The doctor says he is really good. But we have to wait until the last check next Tuesday. After that we will decide whether he will be with us in South Africa. If he can train normally following the first game against the United States he will come with us. If it is going to be longer he won't be with us in South Africa.’

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