Danny Welbeck set to miss England World Cup opener v Italy
Welbeck limps out of England training session with Raheem Sterling expected to line up in Manaus
June 11th, 2014
It appears that Roy Hodgson’s conundrum over who to play alongside Wayne Rooney and Adam Lallana has been solved. Danny Welbeck’s participation in Saturday’s World Cup opener has been left in considerable doubt after the Manchester United man limped off during Tuesday’s training session.
Welbeck was thought to be vying with Raheem Sterling for a spot in the starting XI to face Italy, although the former was wearing heavy strapping on his right thigh as he was led away for treatment by England head physio Gary Lewin.
The 23-year-old has scored five goals in twelve competitive matches for Hodgson, having been set to start on the left of an attacking trident following a bright display against Honduras on Saturday.
It leaves the way open for Sterling to start against the Azzurri and Hodgson has no qualms about starting with the Liverpool winger.
“Any time you choose to select or not select a player, you can come up with reasons,” Hodgson said. “If you’re asking me will I hide behind that, to not consider him, then no I won’t because he’s as fit as a flea and I’m pretty certain he hasn’t forgotten how to play matches, either. It was unfortunate that he couldn’t play against Honduras but I can tell you that Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I’m considering.
“If I select him, it won’t be in my opinion a risk that he hasn’t played so many minutes. And if I don’t select him, it certainly won’t be because he has only played 39 minutes. It will be because I prefer someone else. That’s all I can tell you.”