Danny Welbeck will miss England’s friendly with Brazil at the Maracana with a knee injury may force England manager Roy Hodgson into a tactical reshuffle due to a striker injury crisis.
The injury kept the Manchester United striker out of England’s 1-1 draw with the Republic of Ireland last Wednesday.
The historic first game at the redeveloped Maracana after a two and a half year £286m facelift programme had earlier been in danger of being called off after safety concerns were raised but the Brazilian Football Confederation made assurances that the fixture would take place and that the correct paperwork required to greenlight the game had been submitted.
Hodgson was confident that there were enough players in the squad to provide a full bench on Sunday.
“It’s unfortunate that Danny hasn’t recovered from Wednesday. We will have the requisite number of players on the bench though,” Hodgson said.
England’s squad members are now at the end of a gruelling season with some of them carrying injuries leaving Hodgson short of options up front.
Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge limped out of the Republic of Ireland game with an ankle ligament injury while Andy Carroll withdrew from the England squad from a heel injury.
Spurs striker Jermain Defoe has an achilles problem which will require a fitness test before Sunday’s game and Hodgson may now be making plans to field Theo Walcott in his preferred role leading the England attack alongside Wayne Rooney after playing him out wide on the flank against the Republic of Ireland.
“Theo could play as centre forward as we know he can do.” admitted Hodgson.