Danny Welbeck could not hide his disappointment at being forced to miss Tuesday’s game in Ukraine after he was booked for kicking the ball after the referee had blown his whistle.
The Manchester United striker felt he was treated harshly as he claimed not to have heard Ivan Kruzliak blow for offside just before half-time, as the noise of the below-capacity crowd of 61,607 was too loud.
His manager, Roy Hodgson, said Welbeck was “unbelievably unfortunate” to be suspended, as the forward was also harshly given a yellow card for diving during England’s match in Montenegro in March.
Welbeck said: “I am very disappointed to get the yellow card. When you are playing in front of thousands of your own fans you can’t hear the referee, but even so I thought I was onside and I wanted to try and score.
“It is difficult to get my head round. You want to be taking part in the next game, but the main thing is playing your part for the team. I gave it my best shot and hopefully we can get the right result in Ukraine.”
Hodgson added: “I don’t believe it was a yellow card, it wasn’t a case of him kicking the ball away. If you add to that, the unfortunate circumstances in Montenegro, the other yellow card which we thought should have been a penalty and the referee booked him for diving, he has been unbelievably unfortunate and so have we.
“There are not many teams who can survive the loss of two quality centre-forwards in Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge and now we have another one out. It makes life difficult for us and it does really take the gloss off what I thought was a good team performance and an important win.”
One beneficiary of Welbeck’s yellow card could be Rickie Lambert, who scored his second goal in as many games, as well as setting up the United man for his two.
“It is a shame Danny has got the yellow card,” Lambert said. “I could see the disappointment in his face even when he scored. But I tried to tell him not to worry about it. Hopefully I can give England a different option, that is all I can do.”
Lambert was unequivocal in his opinion of whether it is better to be a scorer or provider of goals. “It was good to get on the scoresheet again, I am over the moon. Scoring for England is the best feeling in the world,” he said.
With England now top of the group, a point ahead of next opponents Ukraine, Hodgson added: “We have always known we will have to match the result Ukraine got here, 1-1, if we were to top the group.
“We are going to need strength and experience in Ukraine, which is one reason why I wanted to give James Milner some time tonight. I am not saying I wanted to use him but he hasn’t played for Manchester City so he needed some time on the pitch.
“We took Ashley Cole off as the way our luck was going he would be booked as well. Jack Wilshere was just a precaution too, he is fine.”