England’s Welbeck out of Brazil friendly

Rio de Janeiro, June 2 (IANS) England’s attacking options have been further depleted by the withdrawal of Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck from Sunday’s friendly against Brazil at the refurbished Maracana Stadium.

Welbeck, nursing knee and thigh problems, was deemed unfit to play after failing to complete training with the England team Saturday, says Xinhua.

England are without Daniel Sturridge, who did not travel with the squad due to an ankle injury while injury concerns linger over Jermain Defoe (Achilles) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (calf).

“We were rather hoping the injury that kept him out of the game against Ireland would heal itself or he would recover from it but unfortunately that’s not the case and we just have the players who stepped off the plane. Fortunately, they are all fit and ready to go,” England coach Roy Hodgson said Saturday.

Welbeck’s absence will mean Hodgson could use Arsenal forward Theo Walcott as the team’s target man, allowing Wayne Rooney to play in a deeper-lying role.

“Theo Walcott could play as centre-forward tomorrow. We wouldn’t have minded one or two more (players) but we’re only allowed to make six substitutions so we’ll have the requisite number of players on the bench to do that,” Hodgson added.

It does mean more players are going to have to take part in the game and maybe it will be a little bit harder for some of those starting as they may have to stay on for a bit longer than they might otherwise have done.”

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