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Young winning battle to be fit

ESPN staff
June 21, 2012 « Robson and Watson out of doubles | Chartbeat test »
Ashley Young is a concern for Roy Hodgson © PA Photos
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Ashley Young appears to be winning his fight to be fit for England's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy on Sunday.

Young, 26, was a fitness concern for coach Roy Hodgson after suffering a shin injury during the 1-0 victory against Ukraine on Tuesday.

The winder was hurt in a collision with Andriy Shevchenko, who came on as a substitute for the co-hosts in Donetsk and was booked for his challenge.

The Manchester United player was still suffering the effects of the injury on Wednesday, walking with a limp, but was reported as saying he was optimistic that he would be ready to face the Italians in Kiev.

Hodgson is now expected to have all 23 members of his squad available for selection as he prepares to take on Cesare Prandelli's side.

An FA spokesman said: "All 22 players [Jermain Defoe has yet to rejoin the squad after attending the funeral of his father] either trained or did recovery work."

Young played in all three games as England finished top of Group D thanks to victories against Sweden and Ukraine and a draw against France.

Meanwhile, Hodgson revealed that his squad had been stepping up penalty practice as they prepared for the possibility of a quarter-final shootout.

He said the vexed history of England and penalties - which includes two semi-final defeats in shootouts against Germany - meant "the past is going to weigh heavily".

"We have used the time after training sessions to regularly practice, and we'll obviously take it even more seriously now," Hodgson said. "You hope that, one day, it will make a big difference.

"But you can practice penalty shoot-outs until the cows come home - it's really your composure, your confidence, your ability to really block everything out and forget the occasion that means you score or don't.

"When you are working with the England national team, the past is always going to weigh heavily because everything we do today is being compared with something that went before."

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