Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge could miss Olympics with suspected meningitis
DANIEL Sturridge, the Chelsea striker, has emerged as a major doubt for Team GB at the London Olympics after going down with suspected meningitis.
The Football Association has been informed of the situation, as have Chelsea, with Sturridge now undergoing a further series of tests to determine the full extent of the problem.
The 18-man squad are due to congregate this weekend but Stuart Pearce could potentially replace Sturridge with a player from his standby list up until July 25, the day before Team GB’s first game of the Olympic tournament against Senegal at Old Trafford.
Should Sturridge be ruled out, it could pave the way for English-born Huddersfield striker Jordan Rhodes to become the only Scottish player in the squad, even though the Scottish FA were hopeful their players would reject call-ups to protect the nation’s identity. Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha is also on the standby list.
Pearce named 13 Englishmen and five Welsh players in his squad on Monday but, as well as the omission of David Beckham, the coach was criticised for not selecting Rhodes. The Scotland forward, who has one senior cap, scored 40 goals in 45 games to help Huddersfield win promotion to the Championship.
The loss of Sturridge would represent a major blow to Team GB, especially as he was expected to start as the main central striker. Wales forward Craig Bellamy, Swansea’s Scott Sinclair and Bolton’s Marvin Sordell are the other attacking options.
The absence of Sturridge would have no impact on Beckham’s chances of playing in the Olympics, however, as Pearce would have to replace one of the three ‘over-age’ selections in Ryan Giggs, Bellamy and Micah Richards.
Chelsea’s Juan Mata was included in Spain’s Olympic squad on Tuesday, even though he was part of the team who beat Italy 4-0 in the European Championship final on Sunday. No outfield England player from the Euro 2012 squad was made available for the Olympics but Chelsea have no objection to Mata playing in two tournaments this summer.