England hopeful on Welbeck fitness despite thigh injury

The Manchester United youngster pulled out of a session on Tuesday and did not participate on Wednesday as he struggles with a thigh problem, though he could be fit to face Italy
By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro

England are hopeful that Danny Welbeck will be fit for their opening game of the World Cup against Italy despite the striker missing a training session on Wednesday.
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The 23-year-old did not emerge for the start of training, where the first 15 minutes was open to the media, after suffering what is thought to be a thigh injury.

But Welbeck's strike partner Wayne Rooney insists the problem is not as bad as first feared, and expects his Manchester United team-mate to train on Friday.

"Danny will be fine," he told reporters. "I'm sure he willl be ready for Saturday.

"He's just not risked anything today. He will train on Friday."

Hodgson is a huge admirer of Welbeck, who has scored eight goals in 24 international appearances and played a major role in England’s qualification for Brazil.

Raheem Sterling could take Welbeck's place in the starting XI should he fail to recover in time, with the Liverpool midfielder having impressed Hodgson in training.

The Three Lions are already without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, although manager Roy Hodgson hopes the Arsenal midfielder will be fit to face Uruguay on June 19.