You can always tell when a major football tournament is around the corner when there is a massive drama surrounding the availability to a key England player.

Just to clarify that I am not talking nonsense and that there is, in fact, a curse on us, here are some are the biggest storylines to appear in this soap opera that has haunted England in the last 10 years:

2002:

The build up to the World Cup in Japan and South Korea was dominated by the injury to David Beckham's foot in a Champions League quarter-final against Deportivo after taking a knock from midfielder Aldo Duscher.

2004:

This storyline began all the back in 2003 when Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand was banned for eight months for failing to attend a drugs test because he was 'moving house'.

2006:

Wayne Rooney suffered a similar injury to David Beckham in 2002 whilst playing a friendly match against Chelsea at the back end of the 2005/06 season after a disgusting challenge from Portuguese defender Paulo Ferreria.

2008:

As far as I know, there were no major tournaments in 2008.

Now we come to 2010 and we have a World Cup in the South Africa on the horizon (in case you haven't noticed). Believe it or not we now get to witness the most dramatic storyline to date. We had 'drugs' in 2004 and for the sake of argument, we'll call Ant and Dec's 'We're on the Ball' single in 2002 the 'rock & roll', now we have the 'sex' part to get the full set, courtesy of former England captain John Terry. What could possibly make this scenario even tastier I hear you ask? An injury to Chelsea and England defender Ashley Cole, that's what.

The significance of this is obvious. Ashley Cole is a left-back and would ordinarily play alongside John Terry in defence. So, with him being a doubt to play in South Africa, Fabio Capello may need to call on a replacement and who is next in line to play in Cole's position? Oh yeah... Wayne Bridge. Fabulous!

So if you think we have seen the last of the Terry-Bridge stories, think again.

Stay tuned to the 'Beautiful Game' to see what happens next.  

Previously on The Beautiful Game