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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with excess, cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings