FIFA World Cup: England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in line for Uruguay return

Jun 11, 2014, 08:55 IST | AFP

Rio de Janeiro: England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could return from injury in time for his side's second World Cup game against Uruguay, manager Roy Hodgson revealed on Tuesday.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, 20, damaged ligaments in his right knee during a friendly against Ecuador last week, but he trained wearing a protective brace on Monday.

Although he is expected to miss England's opening Group D match against Italy in Manaus on Saturday, Hodgson is hopeful that the Arsenal man will be available to face Uruguay in Sao Paulo on June 19.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did very well," Hodgson told a press conference at England's Urca training base in Rio de Janeiro.

"You may have seen the running he was doing -- very positive. He was running so well and so fast and we will be stepping up his recovery in due course.

"We are hoping (he will be back) for Uruguay, but there's no guarantee."

Hodgson also allayed fears about the fitness of captain Steven Gerrard, who cut short his training session on Monday after complaining of tightness in his groin.

"We did a training session where the players who didn't play on Saturday (against Honduras) trained, and some of the others did a warm-down session," Hodgson said.

"Steven did some extra work at the end of that training session. There's nothing wrong with him and I don't understand that story at all."

England approach the World Cup buoyed by the emergence of several exciting young players, such as 19-year-old Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling and 20-year-old Everton midfielder Ross Barkley.

However, Hodgson hinted that the fixture against Cesare Prandelli's Italy may be an occasion for more experienced campaigners.

"It's very exciting," Hodgson said. "We have a lot of potential, but before we build people up too much and say how good they are, let's see some performances.

"Let's calm down before we say we have world-beaters, because to have world-beaters, you have to put an international shirt on and play very well.

"We have more pace, more mobility, a lot of technical players. I'm not trying to play down that the future is bright, but what I'm saying is at this World Cup, we are also going to need our experienced players."

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