ALEX Oxlade-Chamberlain is almost certain to be retained by England for the rest of the World Cup.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s place in England’s World Cup squad was thrown into doubt last week when he suffered a knee injury during the 2-2 draw against Ecuador in Miami.
Roy Hodgson has kept Jon Flanagan and John Stones on standby in case he decides Oxlade-Chamberlain is not fit enough to take part in the tournament.
Hodgson has until Friday to make a change to his 23-man squad, but it looks like the England manager will not be making any alterations.
“It looks very unlikely that we’ll replace him (Oxlade-Chamberlain),” Hodgson said. “I don’t think that will be the case.
“He has got a strained medial ligament, but he is certainly working very hard and I don’t think he could be further forward in terms of his progression than he is now. He’s well up there.”
Initial estimates put Oxlade- Chamberlain’s recovery time at between two and three weeks.
That would rule Oxlade- Chamberlain out of England’s first two matches, although he could feature in the final Group D game against Costa Rica and the knockout stages should the team progress.
- Pele has backed Wayne Rooney to star for England at the World Cup.
Rooney has scored 39 goals for England, but he has never found the net at a World Cup despite featuring in South Africa and Germany.
The England striker struggled for fitness and form prior to the squad’s training camp in Miami, but Pele expects the 28-year-old to perform well in Brazil.
“Wayne Rooney has not scored [in a World Cup finals] but he was fantastic for the team,” the threetime World Cup winner said.
“He was always the player who fought more for the team - I would like him in my team, you know!”
He added: “England have a difficult group but I think they could pass,” the Brazilian said.
“The World Cup is a very short tournament and the experienced players always do well.”