11 June 2014 | News Comments

England's Welbeck a doubt for Italy clash

Danny Welbeck has emerged as a doubt for England's World Cup opener against Italy.

All eyes will be searching for Welbeck when England hold a partially open training session at the Urca military base in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday.

The Manchester United forward reportedly suffered a leg injury and limped out of Tuesday's session, making him a doubt for the Three Lions' first Group D game against Italy on Saturday.

The Football Association refused to comment on Welbeck on Tuesday evening.

"Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I'm considering"

If Welbeck is ruled out, the chances of Raheem Sterling starting the match will be vastly increased.

Manager Roy Hodgson has resisted the temptation to shower praise on Ross Barkley and Wayne Rooney since the England squad met, but that has not been the case with Sterling.

Sterling missed England's final warm-up game against Honduras in Miami after he was sent off in a brief substitute appearance against Ecuador at Sun Life Stadium.

Sterling did not start England's final home game of the season against Peru, meaning he has only had 39 minutes' worth of action since the squad got together on 19 May.

He appears to be in pole position to start the Italy game, though - either as a winger or in the number 10 position just behind Daniel Sturridge.

"If I select him, it won't be a risk that he hasn't played so many minutes," Hodgson said.

"He's as fit as a flea and I'm pretty certain he hasn't forgotten how to play matches, either.

"It was unfortunate that he couldn't play the (Honduras) game (because of suspension), but I can tell you that Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I'm considering."