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Gerrard pulls out of England training with groin problem

The Liverpool captain was not limping and showed no obvious signs of discomfort, but his early withdrawal is a cause for concern ahead of Saturday's clash with Italy.

RIO DE JANEIRO — Roy Hodgson is sweating the fitness of Steven Gerrard ahead of Saturday's opening World Cup clash with Italy after the England captain left training early with a tight groin.

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Gerrard departed midway through an open session at England's training camp in Urca military base shortly after completing a couple of light jogs away from the rest of the squad.

The Liverpool captain was not limping and showed no obvious signs of discomfort, but his early withdrawal will still be a cause for concern for Hodgson as he makes his final plans for Saturday's Group D opener in Manaus.

The rest of the England squad appeared in good spirits as the players undertook their first training session at Urca, a picturesque location situated at the foot of Rio de Janeiro's iconic Sugar Loaf mountain.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was the only other member of the group to train on his own as he completed several light and medium jogs while wearing a knee brace.

The Arsenal youngster limped out of England's friendly clash with Ecuador on Wednesday with a knee injury, but a subsequent scan showed he had sustained no significant ligament damage.

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