Thursday, 12 September 2013

Daniel Sturridge on course for Liverpool return at Swansea but Glen Johnson ... -

Hodgson acknowledged publicly that there was no chance of Sturridge training and performing to the necessary levels for his country if he had been with the England squad, and would have risked aggravating the problem.

A final decision on the striker's availability for the Welsh trip is not expected until the weekend. Liverpool are desperate for him to be available, not only because he has made such a fine start to the season – scoring in all four competitive games – but also because he remains the focal point of the current league leaders' attack in the absence of Luis Suárez.

Suárez has two games remaining of his 10-match ban and is expected to return in the Capital One Cup against Manchester United, whose striker Wayne Rooney is unlikely to play until the Manchester derby a week on Sunday as he recovers from the gashed head he sustained in training last week.

Johnson, meanwhile, will not be available until at least November, although this may a conservative estimate. Johnson sprained his ankle in the United win, also forcing him to miss the country's key qualifying games.

His loss is significant for both club and country. There is no prospect of Johnson being fit enough to face Montenegro and Poland in the decisive Wembley finale to what has been an indifferent World Cup qualifying campaign so far.

Hodgson must hope United's Phil Jones is fit by then or persist with Tottenham's Kyle Walker, who endured a difficult night in Ukraine on Tuesday, after a picture appeared on the morning of the match showing him inhaling nitrous oxide.

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