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Hodgson cools Parker fitness fears

ESPN staff
June 1, 2012 « Millar confirms availability for GB road race team | Chartbeat test »
Roy Hodgson's squad has been ravaged by midfield injuries © PA Photos
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England boss Roy Hodgson is adamant that Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker is fully fit and firing ahead of Euro 2012.

Parker missed Spurs' final four games of the season due to injury, and there have been suggestions that he is struggling to perform at 100 per cent during England's training sessions.

He looks on course to play a pivotal role for England in Poland and Ukraine, with Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard having both been ruled out of the tournament.

And Hodgson has no hesitation in pairing Parker with Gerrard - in what looks to be England's first-choice midfield pairing at the Euros - during Saturday's final warm-up match against Belgium.

"I want to look at the Chelsea players in the game [because they were rested after the Champions League final]," Hodgson said.

"I'm quite happy to continue with Steven and Scott in the centre of the midfield. The back four and goalkeeper will obviously change. I've got to try and get the balance right."

Meanwhile, Hodgson hinted that there could yet be a shock call-up for Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick if England's fitness woes continue. Carrick said prior to the tournament that he only wanted to be considered in exceptional circumstances, and Hodgson indicated that he will discuss the stance with him after the summer - or possibly sooner, if another injury hits a midfielder.

"The contacts with Michael were conducted before I took the job," Hodgson said. "It was said to me [that] he was a player who didn't want to be considered, so I didn't want to consider him.

"If these type of injuries continue, he might have a very important part to play."

Hodgson also lifted the lid on his thinking behind calling up Jordan Henderson to replace Frank Lampard, who was laid low by a muscle injury.

"All muscle tears can be close," Hodgson said. "There are very few that clear up in less than two weeks. You're looking at two to three, and two is fairly optimistic. It would have been very close indeed.

"The fact we lost Barry and replaced him with a defender, Phil Jagielka, there was no chance I could take a risk again with Frank. He could have missed the first two games [of the Euros], and maybe the third."

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