Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopeful of World Cup spot despite two-weeks out

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is optimistic he will be able to accompany England to the World Cup finals after scans on the Arsenal midfielder’s right knee suggested he has not torn the ligaments and will ruled out for only two weeks.

The winger was injured in a second half clash with Ecuador’s Carlos Gruezo during the teams’ 2-2 draw at Sun Life stadium on Wednesday. Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was making his first appearance since 20 April after his involvement in the run-in to the domestic campaign was hampered by a groin complaint, had been one of England’s best performers but departed the stadium in clear discomfort and underwent a scan on Thursday morning.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopeful of World Cup spot despite two-weeks out
It is understood the results suggested he had strained the medial ligaments in the joint, rather than torn them which would have constituted a far more serious problem, meaning the Arsenal midfielder still has a realistic chance to featuring in the tournament proper. The 20-year-old watched training at the Barry University campus on Wednesday with his knee in a brace and hopes to stay with the squad. There is no indication as yet that he is to be sent home to continue his treatment back at Arsenal.

Roy Hodgson will take his time before making a decision over his participation. The England manager can take the injured player to Brazil and call up a replacement at any point until 24 hours before England’s opening Group E game against Italy in Manaus on 14 June if his rehabilitation is slower than anticipated. The national squad still includes John Stones and Jon Flanagan, neither of whom were named in the World Cup 23, with both having undertaken the FA’s gruelling specialist training schedule in Portugal and Miami to ensure they would be acclimatised and ready to step up if required.

Both have featured in the friendlies, with Stones having played as a substitute against both Peru and Ecuador and Flanagan a late replacement on Wednesday. They were due to return home on Sunday when the 23-man party departs for Brazil, though it remains to be seen whether Hodgson asks one or both to remain with his travelling squad and journey instead to Rio de Janeiro. Certainly Stones could operate across the back-line and might free James Milner to concentrate solely on midfield duties having stepped in as a back-up right-back on Wednesday.

The other midfielders on Hodgson’s original 30-man squad list were Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley, though neither has undertaken the training regime. They would not constitute a like-for-like replacement for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the England manager may potentially consider the likes of Norwich’s Nathan Redmond, so impressive for the under-20s at the recent Toulon tournament but uncapped at senior level.

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