Wayne Rooney’s injury blow leaves Roy Hodgson with a difficult decision to make

Roy Hodgson

In light of the England captain's two-month injury lay-off, who should be selected for Euro 2016?

Manchester United and England fans were rocked on Tuesday by the news that Wayne Rooney’s knee injury was worse than first feared, and could rule the forward out for up to two months.

This leaves both Louis van Gaal and Roy Hodgson with tough choices to make in the coming weeks, but the question is perhaps a bigger one for the Three Lions head coach.

With next month’s friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands the final precursor to Euro 2016 in June, the injury poses a serious worry ahead of the this summer's tournament.

If Rooney does, as expected, fail to return to match action until around mid-April, he will have just a month of club football left until the end of the season in which to rebuild up his fitness and sharpness.

Hodgson will likely do everything he can to ensure that his captain goes to France, but if he will be half fit or even merely out of touch, then the England boss must now think hard on his selection of strikers to take to France.

Daniel Sturridge may have made a scoring return to action against Aston Villa on Sunday, but you always feel that another injury is just around the corner for the Liverpool forward.

If the former Manchester City and Chelsea man can stay fit until the end of the season he will surely be on the plane, but if he suffers another setback in the next three months then does Hodgson take a gamble on his fitness?

That would likely result in two out of four of Hodgson's strikers being below their best, and England's hopes resting on Leicester City's Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy and Tottenham's Harry Kane being able to carry their impressive seasons onto the European international stage.

Perhaps, if both Rooney and Sturridge have failed to recover suitably to be in peak condition for the Championships, there is an argument for Hodgson blooding some untested or forgotten Premier League talent in the friendly matches with a view to naming one or two of them in his squad?

Jermain Defoe, who last played for England in 2013, is enjoying his most fruitful season in years in his first full season back in England since returning from Toronto in MLS, boasting a goal tally of 13 goals in 22 games in all competitions for a poor Sunderland side.

Uncapped Watford striker Troy Deeney may also be quietly hoping to receive a call from Hodgson, as he has put a slow start to Premier League life behind him to notch nine goals since the end of October.

Then there is Danny Welbeck to consider. The Arsenal striker had not played since April until he made a 12-minute cameo against Leicester, and his recent injury absence was compounded by setbacks, something which will be of great concern to Hodgson.

However, his return could not have got any better as he hit the ground running again with a 95th-minute winner, and he has been a regular under the England boss and boasts a ratio of nearly a goal every other game at international level.

It is a debate which could rage all day, but whichever group of strikers Hodgson selects for France, he must get the balance right and ensure that he is not left hung out to dry by fitness issues.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch