INJURY BLOW FOR ENGLAND
By: Nhlanhla Ndlovu
Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck could miss England’s opening World Cup clash against Italy on Saturday.
With just a couple of hours left before the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Welbeck is a doubt to start the tournament after picking up an injury, according to reports in the British press. The forward was seen limping after training on Tuesday, seemingly having picked up a hamstring injury.
Welbeck was likely to be coach Roy Hodgson’s target man on Saturday when they kick-off their campaign against their European rivals, Italy. The 23-year-old Manchester United striker started two of England’s three warm-up matches and his absence could see Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling getting a chance in English colours.
Sterling has been struggling to get the game time in the national team. He came on as a second half substitute in a warm-up against Ecuador, but was sent off less than 20 minutes later.
Hodgson told The Daily Mail that Sterling has a good chance to start in place of Welbeck, despite playing just 39 minutes in the last five weeks.
“He’s as fit as a flea and I’m pretty certain that he hasn’t forgotten how to play matches either,” he said. “It was unfortunate that he couldn’t play the game, but I can tell you that Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I’m considering.”
England struggled at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. In 2006, they were eliminated by Portugal in quarter-final after leading Group B heading to the knockout stages meanwhile in 2010, they were chopped out of the competition in round of 16.