England v Uruguay: 'Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will NOT be risked,' says Roy Hodgson

Arsenal midfielder is recovering from a knee ligament injury
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England manager Roy Hodgson said yesterday that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will not be risked in tonight's crunch World Cup game against Uruguay as the Arsenal man recovers from a strain of the medial ligament in his right knee.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain trained without the strapping on his right knee at the Sao Paulo stadium last night. Hodgson said: “He's not in contention but he will take part in the next full training session. At the limit, we could have taken a chance with him tomorrow but it'll be better to use the four days before the Costa Rica game to train with the team.

“His injury has responded very well to treatment and I don't think we'll put him into the firing line tomorrow before he has some training sessions with the team.”

Hodgson did not go as far as saying that Wayne Rooney was a certainty to start the game. However, he said that the striker, who responded on Facebook on on Tuesday to what he perceived as a suggestion he had been made to do extra training, could deal with the pressure.


“I try not to comment too much on where pressure is brought to bear. I concentrate on things that are within my control, really. I only work with the group. I'm more than satisfied with Rooney's performance with Italy. It's interesting to see he ran more than any other England player, more sprints than any other England player.


“But Wayne, like Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard, who hasn't featured yet, are the players with 100 caps, or 90-odd caps, with World Cups and European experience, so the focus is on them. You can't expect the younger players to shoulder that heavy part of the burden. Wayne is more than happy to do that. If he plays tomorrow night, you'll see that in his performance.”

Steven Gerrard said that he was ready for the game against Uruguay. “It's very difficult to forget about it altogether. Games at this level are very important. I'm the captain. I need to think about my performance, the team's performance. I'll be on my iPad analysing them in preparation. There's more preparation to do, and I'll do it this evening. It'll be a fantastic game.”

The Independent's writers have been keeping in contact in Brazil using the World Cup mobile 'survival kit' provided by mobile network Oi