KYIV: Veteran talisman Andriy Shevchenko is a major doubt to lead Ukraine on Tuesday in Donetsk at Euro 2012 against an England team who their own concerns about Theo Walcott writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Shevchenko, former Kyiv Dynamo, Milan and Chelsea striker was ruled out of Ukraine’s Sunday training session by of a knee problem. A Ukraine football association spokesman said: “Andriy suffered a kick to his knee during the second half against Sweden and then another kick in the same area against France.
“He is unable to train today and I would say he is doubtful for Tuesday. He has seen the doctor and is now having treatment. We hope he can still take part but I repeat, he is doubtful.”
Shevchenko, 35, scored both goals in his side’s 2-1 win over Sweden. He has featured in all four of his country’s previous meetings with England since May 2000.
England are currently second in Group D, level on four points with leaders France, while tournament co-hosts Ukraine have three points. Ukraine need a win on Tuesday in the Donbass while England need only a draw.
England have a concern over Walcott after he pulled out of training on Sunday following “a tightness in his hamstring”.
Manager Roy Hodgson confirmed that the damage is not too serious but may rule him out facing the co-hosts. Hodgson said: “Unfortunately he had a slight setback in training. He felt the hamstring that kept him out for so long at the end of the season and which we were slightly concerned about when he came to us
“We have been lucky nothing has occurred with that but in a little training session today we had to take the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt some tightness there.
“Whether he is a real contender for a starting position will depend upon what the medical people can tell me and how much guarantee they can give me that if I do start him he won’t be leaving the field after five minutes, forcing us to have 13 men rather than the 14 I would rather count on.”
Walcott missed two Arsenal games after injuring his hamstring against Chelsea, returning as a second-half substitute during the final day encounter with West Brom.
Hodgson would want to have Walcott available to face Ukraine after an outstanding contribution to Friday’s win over Sweden, when he came off the bench to score his first goal in almost four years, then set up Danny Welbeck for the winner.
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