Roy Hodgson's medical staff will have to convince Uefa officials that Frank Lampard's thigh strain was not a pre-existing condition suffered by the midfielder if the new England manager is to be given dispensation to replace the injured Chelsea man with Jordan Henderson in his Euro 2012 squad.
The Football Association has already notified Liverpool and Henderson that the player is likely to be called up when Lampard goes for a scan this morning on a strain that he sustained towards the end of yesterday's session. However, because all 16 teams in Euro 2012 had to submit their 23-man squads to Uefa by Tuesday, replacements can only be called up if it can be proved that the injury took place after the deadline.
It means that the FA's medical department will have to make its case to Uefa's medical committee over the next two days. Lampard sustained the injury in only his second session since meeting up with the squad on Tuesday after being given nine days off following Chelsea's Champions League final victory. It is not anticipated that he will be able to recover in time to play the tournament.
The FA is confident that Uefa will allow it to make the change on the basis of evidence from today's scan. Lampard has not been named in any of the previous medical bulletins and the governing body called him up in good faith believing him to be fully fit. The Uefa rule that a player with a pre-existing condition cannot be replaced if he is deemed unfit after the squad deadline is in place in order to prevent nations hedging their bets on injured players and then changing them at the last minute.
Uefa tries to give competing nations the best possible chance of taking 23 players to the tournament and it is not expected that England would not be able to replace Lampard. It would represent some leap forward for Henderson who until his substitute's appearance against Norway on Saturday had played just once before for England, in November 2010 against France.
The possibility of calling up Michael Carrick is a non-starter with the player's agent having told the FA in January that he no longer wanted to be considered. Hodgson had intimated that Carrick could be called up if the need was acute but he is not under consideration. Hodgson had a list of five stand-by players – two of whom, Phil Jagielka and Jack Butland, have already been called into the squad.
Speaking at a golf day for the players, sponsors and media yesterday, Theo Walcott said he was still hopeful Lampard could come through. "He's such a great player and he has a scan booked... so fingers crossed that can be positive. I'm praying for him. When you have a player who has just come in who has won the Champions League that can give you the extra percentage that boosts us all."
Hodgson has already lost Gareth Barry to injury – as well as goalkeeper John Ruddy – and Scott Parker has gone into the tournament with a troublesome Achilles problem. Should he struggle for fitness too then the England manager would be left with just Steven Gerrard as his experienced central midfielder. Hodgson has been playing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in central midfield in training over the last few days.
Wayne Rooney spoke publically yesterday for the first time since joining up with the squad and acknowledged that the players would have to be on their best behaviour given their city-centre location in Krakow. "In South Africa [at the World Cup two years ago] we were really isolated from the town centre. Here we can go out of the hotel if we want and relax a bit – but that doesn't mean we are not aware of our roles. The important thing is to get ready for those games."
Hodgson has made a point of building a more relaxed atmosphere around the training camp over the last week which has made quite an impression on the players, who had grown accustomed to Fabio Capello's much stricter regime.