Liverpool look to Wilson to fill Carragher void
Wednesday 01 December 2010
Liverpool's 18-year-old Scotland international defender Danny Wilson will be given an immediate chance to demonstrate to Roy Hodgson that he can help fill the gap created by Jamie Carragher's three-month absence, when he starts tomorrow's Europa League match against Steaua Bucharest.
Liverpool announced yesterday that they could be without Carragher's presence at the heart of central defence until mid-March when it was confirmed he will need surgery on the shoulder injury he suffered at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. The 32-year-old had initially hoped that a period of rest would restrict his absence to six weeks, but with Daniel Agger struggling to recover from calcification caused by a calf injury, Hodgson now has only two established centre-halves fit – Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos.
Wilson has started only one game – the demoralising Carling Cup defeat to Northampton Town in September – which is less than he hoped for when he arrived for £2m from Rangers in the summer. Wilson, like the other summer arrival Jonjo Shelvey, were viewed by Liverpool as worth a gamble on, since the modest outlay on them was relatively easy to recoup by selling them if they were not up to the standard. Shelvey has shown some promise in Europe. Now Wilson, who became the youngest player to play in the Champions League for Rangers when Walter Smith selected him just over a year ago, now has the chance to play a part.
Though either Kyrgiakos or Pepe Reina will be stand-in captain in the absence of both Carragher and Steven Gerrard, Carragher's absence increases the prospect of Liverpool looking for a centre-half next month. France international Adil Rami, one of a number of Lille players Roy Hodgson has watched, is consistent and has a physical strength that suggests he would be cut out for the Premier League, but he will not come cheap. Lille will want €15m (£12.5m) for the Moroccan-born player, which may be more than proprietors New England Sports Ventures are willing to pay.
Hodgson will also start the promising 20-year-old right-back Martin Kelly in Bucharest, where Liverpool – needing only a point to progress and a victory to go through as Group K winners – will also field Joe Cole, Ryan Babel, Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen and Shelvey.
Fernando Torres will not travel with the squad. Striker Daniel Pacheco may also get another chance to prove himself, from the bench.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal vs Aston Villa preview: I need to prove myself again at Villa, says Scott Sinclair
Transfer news and rumours LIVE: Juan Cuadrado to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo to Manchester City, United want Gareth Bale
Chelsea vs Manchester City player ratings: David Silva saves the day but which City star stole the show at Stamford Bridge?
Arsene Wenger photobombs Arsenal photo shoot - manages to look like famous 'Bigfoot' picture
Serena Williams wins Australia Open 2015: American beats Maria Sharapova in straight sets to claim a sixth title in Melbourne
- 1 Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Hard line on immigration could cost Tories the election