Ill Walcott to miss Ukraine clash

Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will miss England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday after going down with an illness over the weekend.

Updated: September 10, 2012 20:37 IST
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London: Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will miss England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley on Tuesday after going down with an illness over the weekend.

Walcott, who came on as a second half substitute in Friday's 5-0 win over Moldova, missed training on Monday after complaining of feeling ill 24 hours earlier and has returned to his club.

Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge was also unable to train on Monday due to stomach cramps, but the England medical team remain hopeful he will be fit for the Group H clash against Ukraine at Wembley.

England manager Roy Hodgson responded to Walcott's withdrawal by calling-up Liverpool's 17-year-old winger Raheem Sterling, Tottenham midfielder Jake Livermore and Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana.

"Theo has picked up some sort of virus," Hodgson said. "He was quite violently ill last night.

"Daniel trained yesterday (Sunday) with stomach cramps but today woke up with the same stomach cramps, and the doctor advised us to keep him out of training and see how things are. The doctor is quite confident he will be okay, though.

"I can only hope nothing is going round the squad. That was why we were quite keen to get Theo home as soon as possible and also keep Daniel away from the squad.

"I have to hope it's just an isolated case with the two players."

Jamaica-born Sterling, who has broken into Liverpool's first-team this season, has been offered the chance to play for the country of his birth, but his call-up to the England squad may persuade him to snub their approach.

Hodgson believes Livermore and Lallana will also benefit from the chance to gain some experience with the senior squad.

"It was a good opportunity to invite some young players to come in and be part of the atmosphere," Hodgson said.

"We still have enough good players to be able to deal with the game, but it's always good when you have the chance to invite these players to come in and see how things are."

Lallana admitted he was stunned when told by Southampton manager Nigel Adkins.

"I didn't think the gaffer was being serious when he called to tell me this morning," the 24-year-old told

"I was at home about to head into the training ground when he called - I must have asked if he was having me on a dozen times!

"I'm totally shocked to be honest. It is every player's dream to represent your country at the top level."

Hodgson's main selection dilemma is who will replace Terry at centre-back, with both Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka in the running.

He has already made up his mind which one will face Ukraine and believes England remain solid enough defensively whoever fills in for Terry.

"Both Cahill and Jagielka are good players," Hodgson said. "Whichever player I chose I'll be happy the team is well covered and that John's absence will be well covered.

"I trust them both, both are good enough. It's up to me now to choose which one I think is the better player for this match.

"I've done that but I don't want to announce anything until I've spoken to the players."

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