Further Three Lions casualties as Lallana and Sturridge sidelined
Roy Hodgson has suffered yet more setbacks in his preparation for England’s upcoming Euro 2016 qualifier clash with Lithuania and following friendly against Italy, as injured duo Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge dropped out amid fitness worries.
Lallana is believed to have aggravated a groin injury during Liverpool’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United, while Sturridge, who was on target for the Reds in that tussle, is suspected to have damaged his hip in training.
The injured Anfield pair follow in the footsteps of left back Luke Shaw and custodians Fraser Forster and Ben Foster, who were also forced to withdraw from the squad last week.
Hodgson has already drafted in QPR keeper Robert Green and Stoke City stopper Jack Butland, with Danny Rose taking Shaw’s spot in defence.
Uncapped Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason has received the call-up to replace Liverpool’s Lallana, and will link up with clubmates Rose, Kyle Walker, Andros Townsend and Harry Kane.
Like much-lauded Kane, Spurs academy graduate Mason has impressed under Mauricio Pochettino this term, and was widely tipped to make the first cut along with his fantastic four White Hart Lane peers.
The 23-year-old has made 29 outings for top four hopefuls Tottenham across all competitions this campaign, quietly taking control of the team’s engine room while Kane grabbed the glory up front.
Mason is unlikely to be involved against Lithuania, but could potentially be rewarded with a first cap against the Azzurri.
Hodgson has the perfect chance to tinker in Turin, but is not expected to add another attacker to his squad, despite striker Sturridge’s enforced absence.
The news will come as a blow for the Three Lions (12/1 with Coral to win Euro 2016), who were hoping to benefit from the poacher’s gradual return to form and fitness after a long injury lay-off.
England already have top prospect Kane (33/1 to become England’s record goalscorer), skipper Wayne Rooney, and Danny Welbeck, who has grabbed five goals in his past four qualifiers, at their disposal.
However, Aston Villa anchorman Fabian Delph has also emerged as a doubt for the duels due to illness, which could open the door for an extra forward.
With Saido Berahino and Danny Ings selected for the England under-21 squad, the chance could potentially fall to QPR frontman Charlie Austin.
Austin has found the net 15 times this term, but was still overlooked in favour of the Three Lions current crop. Should the Hoops hitman step in, it would be a huge achievement for the 25-year-old, who began his career playing non-league football.