Woodgate Portugal chances 'very slim'

Sir Bobby Robson yesterday all but ended any lingering hopes that Jonathan Woodgate would be fit in time for England's Euro 2004 campaign.

The Newcastle United manager has already resigned himself to the fact that he will be without his £9m signing as he tries to steer his side to Uefa Cup success and the fourth and final Champions' League qualification spot. But the former England coach also suggested that Sven Goran Eriksson should forget about him for his plans for Portugal after claiming the torn thigh muscle he picked up in the 2-1 win over Chelsea last weekend could take four months to heal.

Woodgate will visit a specialist in London this morning with Robson maintaining that his chances of making the England squad were "very, very slim". He said: "Jonathan has got a two or three month injury, maybe even four. I've not spoken to Sven because he is going to a see a specialist on Friday. When we get the information back from him we will know more about the exact time he will be out.

"He has got absolutely no chance of playing for us again this season and his chances of playing for England in the summer are very slim indeed.

"I would like Jonathan Woodgate to play in the European Championship, just as we did when we got Kieron [Dyer] fit for the World Cup two years ago. It would make him a better player, but I doubt he will be there.

"We will do everything we can for him, but he will have to pass the most stringent of fitness examinations here first. He is not worth taking a gamble on because this is a thigh tear; he cannot even kick a ball until it's totally healed."

The probable loss of Woodgate would be a bitter blow for Eriksson, even if it is not that surprising. Woodgate has been injury-prone throughout his career and has only managed 37 appearances for Newcastle in 18 months.

Having voluntarily surrendered the chance to play an international friendly this week - reasoning that the benefits did not outweigh antagonising the clubs - Eriksson took the chance to scout England's Euro 2004 opponents.

The England manager was in Geneva to see Switzerland, England's opponents on 17 June in Coimbra, defeat Slovenia 2-1. His assistant, Tord Grip, travelled to Skopje to watch Croatia, England's third group opponents, beat their Macedonian hosts 1-0.

As is customary in these circumstances, both men praised their subjects, omitting, publicly at least, to identify any weaknesses England may be able to exploit. Eriksson said: "This was the first time I have been able to see Switzerland in the flesh since the draw was made in December. They are a good team, skilful and well organised. They play a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield, and it was the attacking players who especially caught my eye.''

Grip said of Croatia: "I was impressed by some of their performances, although it was a poor game. They started with a 4-4-2 formation before switching to 3-5-2 after half-time. Even though they were missing Dado Prso [the Monaco striker who scored against Chelsea last week in the Champions' League], they were still a threat.''

Eriksson will leave further scouting duties to Roland Anderson, the former Sweden international assisting England, and David Platt, the England Under-21 manager, while he concentrates on finalising his 23-man Euro 2004 squad.

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living