Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain loss would be 'enormous blow', admits Roy Hodgson after Arsenal midfielder hurts knee
Arsenal man suffers knee injury during pre-World Cup friendly draw in Miami
Roy Hodgson said that he feared for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's World Cup finals future after the Arsenal man hobbled out of tonight's 2-2 draw with Ecuador in Miami with suspected knee ligament damage.
The winger came off around the hour after his knee folded under him following a challenge from the Ecuadorian Carlos Gruezo. He left the pitch walking comfortably enough but will go for scan tomorrow to ascertain the level of the damage.
Hodgson said: “Oxlade-Chamberlain is the one that bothers. His knee buckled under the challenge as the player turned into him. He'll have a scan tomorrow, I'd imagine. When we've had the scan, we'll know more. Jack Wilshere suffered from cramp, Luke Shaw too. We took them off for those reasons alone.”
Asked whether he may call up a replacement, Hodgson said he would “cross that bridge” should the situation require it. “At the moment I don't know the extent of the injury. I'll have to wait until I know the extent of the injury before making any other comment… you're asking questions I hope I will not need to answer.
“My hope is that Oxlade-Chamberlain will not be seriously injured. He did every so well tonight and looked really, really sharp. It would be an enormous blow if we were to lose him, so I'd prefer to concentrate on the satisfaction and positivity I can take from the game.”
England came from behind with an equaliser by Wayne Rooney, deployed out on the left wing, and then took the lead through Rickie Lambert in the second half before Ecuador levelled. There were strong performances from Ross Barkley and Oxlade-Chamberlain before his injury. Raheem Sterling was sent off for a tackle on Manchester United's Antonio Valencia, who was also red-carded for his retaliation.
The Liverpool teenager will miss the game against Honduras on Saturday with the suspension. Hodgson said: “I'm disappointed. I thought it was a fierce challenge from young Raheem, not a foul challenge. He played the ball and accelerated into the ball. I'm disappointed with Antonio's reaction, grabbing the player. Had he not jumped up there wouldn't have been a problem but, when he does that, the referee had to deal with that and sent Raheem off.
“And, of course, Jack Wilshere had been on the receiving end a few minutes early from a challenge from an Ecuadorian player and did not react. A very similar challenge. I'm pleased Raheem didn't react to a lot of people milling around him.”
Later, Antonio Valencia apologised for grabbing at the throat of Sterling in reaction to the player’s challenge. Valencia said: “I am sorry for the fight with Sterling. England are the best team we've played so far.”
Hodgson was critical of Barkley for giving away the ball. “I thought Wayne Rooney played very, very well. I think Ross Barkley had some good moments. I think he needs to learn when he can turn with the ball and when he has to keep the ball. But that's quite normal for a player his age. He'll be quite happy to have played so long on his first start.”
Asked whether Barkley could start games, Hodgson said: “There always seems to be an enormous obsession with one player... I will be prepared to start any of the players in any game, but I'm not prepared to address your obsession with Ross Barkley.”
“He lost the ball an awful lot of times as well. If he's going to be the player we want him to be, he has to make better decisions of when he turns with the ball. That's not a criticism, but there were other performances out there today who merited your 'obsession' more than Ross Barkley's.”
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