MIAMI: Roy Hodgson is optimistic Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit to go to the World Cup despite knee ligament damage.
Oxlade-Chamberlain fell awkwardly after a clumsy challenge by Carlos Gruezo in England’s 2-2 draw against Ecuador in Miami on Wednesday. Scans showed the Arsenal forward had suffered medial ligament damage to the right knee.
He is expected to be out for two to three weeks and unlikely to play a part in England’s first two group matches.
However manager Hodgson said: “We will do everything in our power to keep him [in the squad]. Our medical team are optimistic and he is optimistic. We can’t say how long for certain it will take him to recover but obviously he will get very extensive treatment.
“We have the right to replace him if we want to up to 24 hours before the first game. We will do everything we can to keep him with us because:
“a, we would we like to think we might go beyond the group stage although we can’t guarantee it, we are certainly planning for it; and b, he played so well yesterday. He was undoubtedly our best player in the time he played and it would be a major blow if we lose him. ”
The player, via Twitter, said: “Gutted to have picked up an injury. I’m staying positive and getting to work with the medical team on recovery.. Fingers crossed.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined his team-mates for a recovery session at the squad’s base in Barry University in Florida on Thursday, although he was wearing a leg brace.
Hodgson has several options should he decide to omit Oxlade-Chamberlain on injury grounds. Manchester United midfielders Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley are on England’s standby list, but they have not spent a minute with the squad this summer.
Standby defenders John Stones and Jon Flanagan have been with the squad in Portugal and Miami as cover for Phil Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury in the final week of the domestic season.