December 21, 2014
England to wait until last moment on Oxlade-Chamberlain
England winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be given until 24 hours before their opening World Cup match against Italy to recover from injury, manager Roy Hodgson said today.
The 20-year-old is working hard to overcome a knee ligament strain suffered in Wednesday's warm-up game with Ecuador and he will be offered every chance to get fit.
Asked when he would decide, Hodgson told reporters: "It won't be before we go to Brazil. It will be at the very, very last moment available to us.
"Twenty four hours before we play our first game. He's working very hard, let's see and hope it's not that serious," he added on the eve of his squad's final warm-up game against Honduras.
"We'll keep our fingers crossed that the injury is not too serious and he will be able to recover in time to take part in the World Cup."
Hodgson said he would not think about who might replace Oxlade-Chamberlain unless the England doctors told him the Arsenal player would not be fit in time for the finals.
"We have spent so much time discussing this squad over the past two months it will not be difficult to come up with the solution if we need to replace him but there is no need for us to consider that yet," he explained.
"He has had a long period of inactivity through injury (this season) and to see him playing that well (against Ecuador) and having such a dominant effect on the game, excited us all.
"He would have been pleased with the performance so you can imagine how sad he is now that he has to spend a bit more time on the sidelines," said Hodgson.
Winger Raheem Sterling is suspended for Saturday's match against Honduras at the Sun Life stadium after being red-carded in the 2-2 draw with Ecuador but Hodgson said it would not harm his prospects of featuring against Italy.
"I am disappointed for him that he got sent off but it does not affect his chances of playing," the manager added. "I don't need a performance from him tomorrow to tell me if he's good enough to play against Italy (on June 14 in Manaus)."
Hodgson indicated that most of the players who sat out the Ecuador game would return against Honduras.