Midfield problems mount for Hodgson

Thu, 31 May 23:29:26 2012

England's Euro 2012 hopes are in danger of being wrecked before they have even left for their Krakow base after Frank Lampard was ruled out with a thigh injury.

There was a pessimistic feeling around the Three Lions camp on Wednesday night over the chances of a scan into the injury Lampard suffered during only his second day of training offering good news. And so it has proved.

Manager Roy Hodgson has been informed the tear Lampard sustained would not heal in time for the Chelsea midfielder to feature in any of England's three group games, the last of which is against co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on June 19. It left him with little option other than to tell Lampard he was out.

It comes just three days after Hodgson lost Gareth Barry to a stomach injury, meaning England have been robbed of 143 caps in central midfield in the space of 72 hours.

And if that was not bad enough, it is understood the form of Scott Parker is giving cause for concern as well. Parker missed the final four games of Tottenham's Premier League campaign with an Achilles injury that required an injection just over a fortnight ago.

The discomfort had eased sufficiently for Parker to play in Norway, when Hodgson admitted to "pushing" the midfielder through an additional 15 minutes. There is no question either of Parker missing Saturday's final friendly with Belgium at Wembley and, further mishaps permitting, the Group D opener against France in Donetsk on June 11.

A lack of mobility was noted from 31-year-old Parker in Norway and it is accepted it will now be a battle to get the player back to his peak for the France game, which England must also face without suspended star striker Wayne Rooney.

Subject to UEFA clearance, Liverpool's Jordan Henderson will replace Lampard. However, the Liverpool man was making only his second international appearance in Oslo.

"It's a huge blow for the team, especially coming after the loss of another senior player in Gareth Barry," said Hodgson. "The fact that the doctor cannot guarantee Frank could take part in any of the group matches means we have to replace him in the central midfield area.

"Apart from it being a huge blow to me and the team, I'm especially disappointed for Frank himself. He has been in very good form and was looking forward to the tournament."


Not already a Yahoo! user ? to get a free Yahoo! Account