Just minutes after you made this post it has been announced for definate that Stevie G will have the op to try and end the problem for the start of next season
For a long time now I have not been a fan of Nicky Butt but recently my opinion has changed slightly. I think he will now start v Sweden. I have to admit that he is good protection for the back four, so other midfielders can be more attack minded, worrying less about the opponents counter-attacking. In the best midfield with everyone available, there isn't a natural holding player Gerrard and scholes both love to get forward and support the strikers.
My team v Sweden:
Brown Ferdinand Campbell Ash.Cole
Beckham* Butt Scholes Heskey
*assuming Becks is fully fit and Dyer is 100% definately ruled out.
I would include Heskey and Fowler because England have to win this match to have any chance of qualifying.
Joe Cole and Sheringham/Vassell would come on at some stage.
That is a massive blow and perhaps the biggest that England could have had... I mean even Beckham would not have been that bad if Gerrard was fit but no-one else in England offers what he does... in fact very few players in the world do...
I would definately replace him with Haregreaves but am also sure that Butt will play... for me Bridge/A Cole or J Cole should be on the left of midfield.
That is how important he is to England. Gerrard was a player in the team that knew were Michael Owen was all the time. When Gerrard gets the ball, the first thing he does (if possible) is send a through ball down for Owen to run onto it and score. No one in the squad could do that as much as Gerrard, because they've been playing together since they were 11 years old.
The one to replace Gerrard is a defensive midfielder, which is Butt and I think he will do a good job, he just can't pass like Gerrard or dribble as good.
I was starting to think Butt was international class for a few short weeks, but against Bayer, and then Arsenal, he didn't look quality and I had to change my mind. The way scholes has been playing recently as well, you have to wonder if he has the consistency to keep on doing it game after game at the WC. Hopefully so. With Dyer, Gerrard and potentially Beckham out, I'm a bit downhearted at the moment.