LONDON — England winger Andros Townsend was ruled out of the World Cup through injury on Wednesday as coach Roy Hodgson sweats on the fitness of other players he planned to take to Brazil.
Although Hodgson remains hopeful Arsenal duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere, and defender Phil Jagielka will recover in time, right back Kyle Walker is a major concern.
Hodgson will announce his 23-man World Cup squad on May 12, and England’s World Cup opener is on June 14 against Italy in Manaus.
The 22-year-old Townsend, who broke into the England team last year, will definitely not be making the trip. The Tottenham player requires surgery to repair damage to ligaments in his left ankle and will be out for 10 weeks.
“He had a fantastic debut bursting onto the scene, and he did really well,” Hodgson said. “I have been a bit disappointed for him that he has not had as much playing time over recent months … but to see him ruled out like this with a serious ankle injury is a cruel blow.”
Arsenal winger Theo Walcott and Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez had already been ruled out of the tournament.
Walker, the Tottenham defender, had been in line to be first-choice right back in Brazil but he has not played since March due to a pelvic injury.
“We haven’t been told for certain that he will be out for the next six to 10 weeks but we are concerned that it has been a long time he has been out,” Hodgson said. “During that time he has not been able to do any training with the rest of the team as far as I know. I know he has had another injection. We are waiting to find out whether that helps.”
Although Wilshere, the Arsenal midfielder, hasn’t played since breaking his left foot during England’s win over Denmark in March, Arsenal just doesn’t “want to push him back too early,” Hodgson said.
Likewise, Hodgson said he had been reassured by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that there isn’t “too much to worry about” Oxlade-Chamberlain’s prospects of recovering from a groin injury.
There has also been positive news about Jagielka’s recovery from a hamstring injury that has kept him out for Everton since February.
“He has been participating to a decent level in training,” Hodgson said. “Everton have keen not to throw him back in before his injury is 100 per cent right. We don’t have any fears he won’t be fit to come with us.”