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Gerrard not carrying injury, says Hodgson

ESPN staff
June 10, 2014 « Watson out in Edgbaston first round | WILL TEST Rashid's burst takes Yorkshire top »
Roy Hodgson is hopeful that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit for England's second Group D fixture against Uruguay © Getty Images
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Roy Hodgson has dismissed reports Steven Gerrard is carrying a groin injury that is putting his captain's place in England's opening World Cup game against Italy in Manaus on Saturday in doubt.

Speculation over recent days suggested Liverpool midfielder Gerrard has picked up an injury in England's final warm-up game against Honduras on Saturday, but Hodgson seemed bemused by the suggestion.

"I don't really understand the Steven Gerrard one," said Hodgson when asked about the fitness of Gerrard. "I don't really know what was wrong with him.

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"Yesterday we did a training session where the players who played [against Honduras on Saturday] did a warm down session and I worked with the nine who didn't take part.

"My understanding is the other group did some extra work at the end of the session and there is absolutely nothing wrong with Steven, so I didn't really understand that story at all."

Hodgson also offered an upbeat assessment of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's recovery from a knee problem, as he hinted the midfielder is expected to be available for his side's second Group D game against Uruguay on June 19.

"As far as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is concerned, he did very well. He was running, admittedly in straight lines. We will step up his training programme in the course of this week," said Hodgson. "There is no guarantee. The medics are hoping that by the second game, he could be fit."

Roy Hodgson urged caution ahead of England's campaign and called for calm over his young squad's chance of lifting the trophy in Brazil.

Hodgson has put faith in several young players, most notably Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Raheem Sterling, but hinted they will need the assistance of their more experienced team-mates if they are to shine at their first World Cup.

"Let's calm down before we say we have world beaters because to have world beaters you have to put an international shirt on and play very well," Hodgson said.

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"We have more pace, more mobility, a lot of technical players. I am not trying to play down the future, looks quite bright and there are interesting times ahead. This World Cup, we are also going to need our experienced players.

"We have a potential, a lot of belief in this potential but I must advise some caution because the players haven't had a lot of chances in an England shirt to show they can realise that potential. I believe it will be but first let's see some good performances in England shirts.

Hodgson also said reports that he and England had been keen to avoid a trip to play in Manaus at this World Cup, with the humid conditions expected to challenge the English players this weekend.

"It is not true we complained about Manaus and Brazil and that nonsense should be put to bed," Hodgson said. "I am more than happy to be here for another World Cup. We are looking forward to playing in the World Cup and will play in any city we are given."

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