Roy Hodgson has confirmed that he will only pick players who have proved their fitness for England’s Euro 2016 squad.
This spells bad news for Arsenal pair Danny Welbeck and Jack Wilshere, as well as Liverpool forward Danny Sturridge, all of whom have endured considerable spells on the sidelines in recent months and years.
“We will be thinking about their ability to play a number of matches in a short space of time, because that’s something that we always do,” Hodgson began, as per The Guardian. “We know what tournament football is, we know what the demands of tournament football are, and we will be thinking about those things.
“Are we going to take a player to the tournament who’s virtually not played any football, but because he’s a talented player and might just become, in some miraculous way, capable of playing football? It’s unlikely.? But the next question is, what do you mean by a number of games?”
Hodgson name-checked Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge when discussing players who had struggled with fitness, although expressed optimism that both would be back at their best before the end of the season.
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Welbeck had a knee operation in August and will be out until the new year, while Sturridge has managed only three outings for Liverpool this season as the club manage his various ailments.
England are well aware of the perils of taking unfit players to major tournaments, with high-profile stars such as David Beckham, Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney all delivering sub-par performances after being taken to a competition when unfit.