Hodgson refuses to gamble on Barry's fitness

 

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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson has vowed that England will not repeat the mistake of taking an unfit Gareth Barry into another tournament, as the day arrives that will tell the manager the full extent of the injury crisis that clouds his European Championship hopes

Barry will undergo a scan at Wembley today on the groin injury that severely limited his role in England's 1-0 win over Norway in Oslo on Saturday, while Glen Johnson and Danny Welbeck will both receive medical assessments on toe and ankle injuries respectively. Hodgson has said that Barry's physique could count against him making a quick recovery, two years after he played semi-fit in the World Cup and was badly exposed in the 4-1 defeat by Germany.

"I can't take a risk on that one," Hodgson said. "Gareth is a big man. When big men get injured, they sometimes take a bit of time. He's not the type of guy who needs long breaks from football. If the scan is one of those scans that don't really give you the answer yes or no, then I will have a very serious discussion with him."

England waited anxiously on the outcome of Barry's ankle scan two years ago, with a dearth of central midfielders, and the then manager Fabio Capello decide to leave Scott Parker at home. But omitting the 31-year-old Manchester City player this time would have the compensation of allowing Hodgson to call up Everton's Phil Jagielka from the standby list to lift his defensive strength to a healthier eight, in a squad of multiple midfield options. Jagielka, who impressed at centre-half on Saturday, was denied a part in South Africa by an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

Hodgson is also ready to deploy Phil Jones in midfield, rather than call up Jordan Henderson, even though the Manchester United player has started one game in the centre for England and just seven for United. "I am not necessarily looking to replace man for man in the midfield areas – because I have a lot of players there," said Hodgson, who can call on James Milner, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Parker in central midfield.

Jones could be moved forward because Hodgson is now confident that both Johnson and Welbeck will be available, even though the United striker has not played since 30 April and still requires anti-inflammatories on an ankle injury.

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