England lose centre Shenton to injury

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The Independent Online

England centre Michael Shenton spoke of his frustration at having his Four Nations campaign cruelly cut short by injury.

The 24-year-old sustained ankle ligament damage during England's opening 24-10 defeat by New Zealand in Wellington on Saturday and has been ruled out of the remaining matches.

Shenton will stay on to watch England's next match, Sunday's must-win clash with Australia in Melbourne, before flying home to complete his recovery.

"It's completely ruptured so the series is over for me," he said.

"I enjoyed that game and was looking forward to coming up against the Aussies and getting some payback for last year's defeat.

"It's pretty upsetting from a personal point of view but it gives an opportunity to someone else in the team. That's why you take a 24-man squad.

"I'm definitely going to support the boys on Sunday. I think the guys are really ready for it. Everybody has gelled really well on tour."

Shenton, who won his ninth cap against the Kiwis, picked up the injury in the closing stages of the first half at the Westpac Stadium but stayed on and produced the break that led to England's second try during their second-half fightback.

"I wasn't thinking about the injury," he said. "I had a million other things on my mind.

"There was a fair bit of pain but it could have been worse. I ripped off the full ankle strap, which probably cushioned the blow, and the fact that I played on was a good sign."

Shenton, who will play for St Helens in 2011 after completing a move from home-town club Castleford, will not need to undergo surgery and should be ready to take part in pre-season training under new Saints coach Royce Simmons next month.

"I just need to rest it," he said. "It's only a few weeks' injury. Unfortunately the tournament is only short, otherwise I might have been able to get back in time.

"I'll get back and see the physio and the medical staff to get it checked out. I'll also get to meet up with Royce Simmons, I've not spoken to him yet."

Shenton is the second England player to have his Four Nations campaign curtailed by injury.

Captain Adrian Morley flew home a week ago to have surgery on a ruptured bicep after being hurt in England's warm-up match against New Zealand Maori.

England were able to replace Morley with his Warrington team-mate Garreth Carvell because the tournament had not officially begun but they will not be able to send for a replacement for Shenton and will operate with a 23-man squad.

England coach Steve McNamara, who put his team through their paces this morning at AAMI Park, venue for Sunday's clash with the Aussies, has the option of replacing Shenton with one of two specialist centres yet to feature on tour.

Huddersfield's Leroy Cudjoe and Harlequins' Tony Clubb are the players vying to fill the vacancy.