Roy Hodgson says it’s “unlikely” he will include Daniel Sturridge or Danny Welbeck in England’s Euro 2016 squad if they are not fully fit.
Hodgson and his squad will fly to Alicante on Tuesday for some warm weather training ahead of their friendly against European champions Spain at the Rico Perez Stadium, home of Segunda Division side Hercules, on Friday.
Four days later, England welcome Euro 2016 hosts France to Wembley for what is expected to be a sell-out fixture.
Hodgson’s plans for the double-header have been hampered by an injury list that contains 13 squad regulars.
The likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jagielka are expected to be back before Christmas, but the fitness of Sturridge and Welbeck is a bigger concern for the England manager.
Sturridge was one of the few players to emerge from the World Cup with any credit, but he did not feature in any of the 10 European Championship qualifiers due to thigh and knee injuries.
Welbeck has been out since April with a knee problem too.
Hodgson will give both players – and any others currently on the treatment table – a chance to prove themselves ahead of the tournament but is reluctant to take any player to France who is not 100 per cent fit.
“They must be devastated to have lost so much football but who knows what it’s going to bring? We hope they’re going to be back,” Hodgson said of Welbeck and Sturridge.
“What you’re really asking is, are we going to take a player to the tournament who’s virtually not played any football, but because he’s a talented player might just become, in some miraculous way, capable of playing football? It’s unlikely.
“I wouldn’t be happy to really take players with us in the hope that they will become fit during the tournament. I would rather have 23 players who are all fit and ready to go and capable of playing from the very first minute when I name the squad.”
Meanwhile, Hodgson wants to organise a get together with his squad between November and March – even though Premier League clubs shot down the same proposal last year.
Hodgson has regularly spoken of his desire to create a club environment within the England set-up.
The England manager believes such camaraderie and team spirit is key to England’s chances of success at major tournaments.
With that in mind, Hodgson planned to meet with his squad between November and March – the final and first games of the international calendar – last year.
But the meeting was scrapped after Premier League clubs vetoed the proposal, claiming they could not find space in their packed schedules.
That has not put Hodgson off making tentative plans to hold a similar get together this winter, however.
“It would be nice (to do that),” Hodgson said.
“It would not be our decision.
“Premier League teams own the players and pay them. If they are prepared to sacrifice an evening or two to let us have a get together with the and remind them of what we’re trying to do and get them to put an England hat on for an afternoon or evening, that would be great.
“If it’s not possible, I’ve accepted it for many years and I’m not staking any claim.
“If it can be done and the Premier League clubs are willing to accommodate us, then we would be more than happy to do that and we’d be grateful but I’m not prepared to make a fuss about it.”
With a major tournament on the horizon, it would perhaps be beneficial for the squad to have a winter social and Hodgson believes the players are keen to have one too.
“They seem to be (up for it),” Hodgson added.
“When we spoke about it in the euphoria after the victory against Scotland (last November) they were keen so I’d like to think they would be keen again and I would like to think it wouldn’t take a lot away from the clubs as well as we’d choose the date and time very carefully to suit everybody.”
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