Wednesday 22 November 2017

Theo Walcott in race to be fit for Euro 2012 clash with home team Ukraine

THEO Walcott travelled to England's training ground ahead of his team-mates this morning as battled to get himself fit for tomorrow's crunch European Championship clash against Ukraine.

Walcott left the team hotel in a car, which is understood to have been headed for the Hutnik Stadium, while the rest of the squad's outfield players boarded the team bus.

Manager Roy Hodgson revealed yesterday that winger Walcott was a doubt for England's Group D decider after pulling out of training with a "tightness in his hamstring".

The Football Association were not commenting on the reasons behind Walcott's early departure this morning but it would appear likely he was undergoing treatment in a bid to get him fit enough to train.

The Arsenal winger did appear to tweak his hamstring during Friday's 3-2 win over Ukraine but was able to continue what was a game-changing display that saw him come off the bench to equalise and set up the winning goal.

That put him in contention to start tomorrow but Hodgson hinted yesterday he would not take a chance with Walcott unless he could be sure the 23-year-old would not break down during the game.

Hodgson told BBC Radio Five Live: "Whether he is a real contender for a starting position will depend upon what the medical people can tell me and how much guarantee they can give me that if I do start him he won't be leaving the field after five minutes, forcing us to have 13 men rather than the 14 I would rather count on."

Hodgson also confirmed the affected hamstring was the same one that forced Walcott to miss the climax to Arsenal's season.

With England training behind closed doors this morning, it was impossible to glean whether Walcott played any part, although he was expected to travel with the team to Donetsk this afternoon.

Hodgson's men were forced to conduct today's final session before tomorrow's game in Krakow rather than at the Donbass Arena, with the stadium's pitch having taken a battering during the thunderstorm that briefly called a halt to France's 2-0 win over Ukraine on Friday.

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