Football: Injury puts Fowler's World Cup in doubt

GLENN HODDLE last night offered a message of hope to Robbie Fowler as the Liverpool striker prepared for surgery after suffering a severe knee injury during Monday night's Premiership match with Everton.

The England coach insisted Fowler was still in his World Cup plans, despite fears from his club that he will be out until September after tearing the medial ligaments and damaging the cartilage in his left knee.

Fowler was injured in a last-minute collision with the Everton goalkeeper, Thomas Myhre. He is currently in hospital and will be operated on once the swelling subsides.

"I knew it was serious when I saw the incident on television last night," Hoddle said. "It is sad and wretched luck for Robbie, especially as he has worked extremely hard to recover his form in recent games. He reacted absolutely as I hoped to his exclusion from the squad.

"John Gorman [Hoddle's assistant] has spoken to his father and I am looking forward to speaking to Robbie myself. We all wish him well. If the operation is as successful as we hope it will be and he recovers quickly, we believe he still might be available for the summer."

That must, however, be unlikely as Fowler may need two operations and will then need to gain both fitness and justify a place in the squad. So far, Hoddle has only picked him twice and, although he scored both times, he was left out of the squad for the recent match with Chile.

Only in November, he marked his second England start under the current coach by scoring in the 2-0 Wembley win over Cameroon, but since then he has found the net just five times in 16 games for Liverpool, failing to score a single Premiership goal in 1998.

Fowler, bitterly disappointed at being left out of the Chile squad, hoped to prove his point to Hoddle, although his lack of fortune in front of goal has continued.

Fowler was also capped five times under the previous England manager, Terry Venables, although his international career began as part of England's Under-18 European Championship-winning team in 1993, when he ended up leading scorer with five goals. He scored on his B-team debut against the Republic of Ireland in 1994. He made his full debut in March 1996, coming on for the last 14 minutes against Bulgaria.

However, Fowler's international career looked to be in jeopardy when he fell out with Hoddle last May by dropping out of the England squads to meet South Africa and Poland, and also pulled out of the side to play in France's Le Tournoi in order to undergo and operation on his adenoids.

Hoddle questioned why Fowler could not have had the operation earlier in the season while he was suspended, and said at the time: "This could cost Robbie Fowler a place in the World Cup squad."

Hoddle does have alternatives, but with Chris Sutton having ruled himself out, Les Ferdinand perpetually injured and Ian Wright also having problems with form and fitness, they are diminishing, despite the emergence of Fowler's Anfield strike partner, Michael Owen.

This may open the door for Coventry's Dion Dublin, who made his international debut against Chile, Andy Cole, currently in form for Manchester United and even Paul Merson, who has been rejuvenated since his move from Arsenal to Middlesbrough.

Liverpool's problems are more acute. The point from the draw with Everton left them in joint second place with Arsenal in the league, but with the loss of Fowler, their attacking options are limited to just Owen, who their manager, Roy Evans, was hoping to be able to rest, and Karlheinz Riedle. Evans may have to buy to maintain their challenge for both the Championship and a Champions' League place.

The possibility of returning as a third-choice striker will further depress Fowler during the long and painful rehabilitation process. He has also faced problems off the field as well, with reports - fiercely denied - that he had been the subject of blackmail attempts and other suggestions that he was demanding a huge pay increase to pounds 50,000 a week during his current negotiations for a new contract to replace the one which expires next summer.

But now any chance he had of earning a place on the flight to France seems to have disappeared with an injury which saw him pay the price for not giving up on a lost cause.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible