• England

Hodgson: Wilshere absence a blow for England

ESPN staff
March 14, 2013
Jack Wilshere will miss the two forthcoming World Cup qualifiers © PA Photos

Roy Hodgson has lamented the absence of Jack Wilshere from his latest England squad after the Arsenal midfielder was ruled out for three weeks with an ankle injury.

Wilshere, 21, has been struggling with an inflamed ankle and so Gunners boss Arsene Wenger made the decision to allow his player an extended break to recuperate from the injury.

The midfielder put in a man-of-the-match display last time out in an England shirt during the Three Lions' 2-1 defeat of Brazil, and Hodgson admits his side will miss the youngster during their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

"It's a blow. It's disappointing for Jack, he had enjoyed a good spell of playing regularly after such a long lay-off. He did so well in a cameo appearance against Sweden and then against Brazil he was man of the match,'' Hodgson said.

"So to find we can't use him again is a major blow but these things happen, injuries occur in football. We still have a strong squad.''

Hodgson was, however, delighted to be able to recall Ben Foster back to the squad, following the goalkeeper's near two-year hiatus from the international scene.

Foster made himself unavailable to play for England towards the end of the 2010-11 season because of a back problem as well as a number of other injury niggles.

"We are pleased we have, in our opinion, two excellent goalkeepers. Ben is playing very well for his club team at the moment and it is good that he has decided after a long absence that he wants to play again," Hodgson said.

Hodgson also welcomed back defenders Rio Ferdinand and Michael Dawson to the squad, but at the expense of Joleon Lescott and the injured Phil Jagielka.

The England boss admits it was a hard decision to drop the Manchester City man, but says he was left with no other choice following Lescott's recent lack of game time at his club.

"It has been difficult for me, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka have done an excellent job. But Phil is injured and Joleon has been playing so little football...and with Michael Dawson playing the way he has been playing I thought it was right to include him,'' Hodgson said.

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