Roy Hodgson admits that England will be 'short' after trio are sent home ahead of Italy clash

Sterling, Baines and Milner definitely out, while Welbeck could miss game

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The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson admitted that his England squad will be “short” for Tuesday night’s friendly against Italy in Turin, with three of his five forwards set to be absent.

Danny Welbeck picked up a knee injury on Friday night, while Raheem Sterling and James Milner are heading back to their clubs leaving England with limited options, especially up front and at left-back.

“Going to Italy, we'll be short of a few players for a game that means a lot to us and to me,” Hodgson said after the 4-0 defeat of Lithuania. “I haven't got front players coming out of the hat, but we'll wait and see.”

Welbeck sustained what Hodgson described as “a tweak to the knee” which will be assessed, but will likely rule him out of Tuesday’s game. “The medical staff gave me the impression they're not terribly worried about it,” Hodgson said, “but that Tuesday may be too soon. It is a disappointment, particularly as we have already lost Daniel Sturridge and agreed that Sterling would get the injection.”

Raheem Sterling will not play in Turin either, as he will have a toe injection which Hodgson had already agreed with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. “He’s been playing through a situation,” Hodgson explained, “it is important he gets it put right for us and for Liverpool. They think this injection will help him get through the rest of the season and join us and beat Slovenia (in June).”

With Daniel Sturridge having already returned to his club with a minor muscle tear, England will likely be without three of their forwards on Tuesday, leaving Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane as their only fit options.

At left-back, Luke Shaw and Danny Rose are already injured, and Leighton Baines played on Friday, leaving Hodgson with Kieran Gibbs and Ryan Bertrand to choose between against Italy.