Hodgson fury at strong-arm tactics
Injury takes gloss off Welbeck-inspired England win as manager counts cost of Wembley friendly
England were left angry last night by a challenge that threatened them with losing another player for the European Championship. The Chelsea defender Gary Cahill went to hospital with a jaw injury, having been substituted in the first 20 minutes of a 1-0 victory over Belgium. He underwent a scan last night but the results were inconclusive. An announcement was due to be made by the Football Association today.
The visitors, backed by thousands of supporters, were competitive from the start – much more so than England would have wanted for a final warm-up which in the past has been little more than a gentle workout.
Dries Mertens had pushed Cahill from behind, sending him crashing into the goalkeeper Joe Hart, who also remonstrated with the Belgian player.
"I wasn't too happy about it," said the England manager, Roy Hodgson. "Unfortunate is too kind a word. You take unkindly to those kind of pushes that take a defender into the goalkeeper and the consequences might be worse for us than the yellow card."
Cahill's club-mate and first-choice central-defensive partner, John Terry, will need a scan on a tight hamstring today, adding further to the disruption of England's preparations after the squad lost several players even before the squad was named and three more since.
Even Joleon Lescott, who came on for Cahill, finished the game with a bandage on his head after suffering a cut. Steven Gerrard suffered cramp; goal-scorer Danny Welbeck has been on antibiotics and was given only 55 minutes; Scott Parker completed a full match but Hodgson admitted he was "not at his sharpest". "It would be nice if the competition was starting for us in two or three weeks instead of Monday week," he said, "but it isn't so we've got to get them in the best shape we possibly can."
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