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Roy Hodgson faces striker shortage for England's friendly with Scotland

Roy Hodgson is facing the distinct possibility of being down to one fully fit striker for England's friendly against Scotland and suffering his first injury pile-up of the season even before a ball has been kicked in anger.

Wayne Rooney's ongoing absence from Manchester United's pre-season fixtures means four of the five strikers Hodgson wanted to select for the game at Wembley a week on Wednesday must now be regarded as considerable doubts.

Rooney has not started a match since 28 April because of a combination of his fall-out with Sir Alex Ferguson, his withdrawal from United's summer tour after citing a hamstring problem and now the shoulder injury that has been used to explain why he did not travel to Stockholm for Tuesday's friendly against AIK.

Andy Carroll, still prominent in Hodgson's thoughts, has not recovered from the heel injury that forced him out of the squad to face Brazil and the Republic of Ireland at the end of last season. Daniel Sturridge did not return to full training at Liverpool until Monday, having damaged ankle ligaments in the match against Ireland, and Jermain Defoe lasted only eight minutes of Tottenham's friendly against Monaco at the weekend before a hamstring injury led to his substitution.

That leaves Danny Welbeck as the solitary forward in Hodgson's plans without any injury or fitness problems and raises the question about whether the England manager will bring in a new striker. Until now, however, he has routinely overlooked Rickie Lambert. Hodgson is still nursing a grudge against Peter Crouch for not wanting to go on the standby list before Euro 2012 and it is more likely he will consider that the inclusion of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, plus a possible promotion to the senior squad for Wilfried Zaha, gives England enough attacking threat.

That, however, is unlikely to be his only concern in the coming week, with Hodgson acutely aware that the timing of this match, approaching the opening game of the Premier League season, makes a rash of withdrawals almost inevitable.

Frank Lampard, for one, must also be considered a doubt, given the way his pre-season has been disrupted. Lampard, three games away from reaching a century of England caps, has been suffering from an achilles problem and has not figured in Chelsea's summer fixtures.

Hodgson will name a 23- or 24-man squad on Thursday as well as a new-look Under-21 party in his temporary role as stand-in manager. The job-share means a change in usual procedure, with Hodgson planning to do all his media duties at St George's Park on Monday and then take charge of the Under-21s in their match against Scotland at Bramall Lane the following day. His assistant Ray Lewington will also be involved in Sheffield, leaving Gary Neville in charge of the seniors as they travel south from Burton on the same day. Jordan Henderson, Jack Rodwell, Steven Caulker, Danny Rose, Craig Dawson and Henri Lansbury are now ineligible at Under-21 level.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Daniel Taylor, for The Guardian on Tuesday 6th August 2013 22.30 Europe/London

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