England manager Roy Hodgson has confirmed that Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling and Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck will both miss the Three Lions friendly against Italy on Tuesday, reports the Daily Star.
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Hodgson lamented the loss of both players, but admitted that Sterling was always likely to miss the game against the Azzuri due to an ongoing toe injury, which has been bothering him for a number of weeks.
The 20-year-old, who scored the third of England’s four goals against Lithuania during their latest Euro 2016 qualification success, will now receive an injection, which should allow him to recover in time for Liverpool’s game with Arsenal a week on Saturday.
However, the loss of Welbeck, who became the tournament’s leading scorer when he netted England’s second goal, will come as a significant blow to Hodgson, who has been pushing forward with his fledgling striking partnership of Welbeck and Wayne Rooney.
The injury to Welbeck is likely to mean that Rooney is partnered by Harry Kane – who scored after just 80 seconds on his debut – in Turin next week. The Tottenham Hotspur striker has now scored 30 goals for club and country this season, and will no doubt be eager to impress again.
Speaking about his squad, Hodgson revealed: “It is two blows for us. Raheem Sterling was waiting for an injection on his toe – he has been waiting for a while.
“I agreed with Brendan (Rodgers) that he would play tonight as it was the qualifier but he will now have the injection.
“If we’re unlucky we will lose him and Danny Welbeck (for the game against Italy on Tuesday). They’re important players in the system we’re trying to play, but it will give opportunities for other players.”