NAL boss Arsene Wenger believes injured left-back Kieran Gibbs could recover in time to sneak into England’s World Cup squad.
Wayne Bridge’s international retirement has moved highly-rated Under-21 star Gibbs further up the pecking order.
The 20-year-old is still in a cast after multiple operations on a broken foot bone but is on course to be ready to play by the start of April.
Wenger expects Gibbs to need six weeks of action before being fully fit – almost exactly the amount of time left of the season by that point.
“I don’t think he is definitely out of the World Cup. There is a little chance, if all goes well now,” said the Frenchman at an event to mark 25 years of the club’s charitable work in the community.
“He will take six weeks on the pitch to build up his fitness. I always think he will play for the national team one day – I’m convinced of that.”
Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock and Everton’s Leighton Baines are the leading contenders to replace Bridge in Capello’s World Cup squad.