Jack Wilshere confirmed his fitness for Euro 2016 in front of Roy Hodgson with a 69-minute appearance for Arsenal against Aston Villa on Sunday – 24 hours before the England manager announces his squad for the European Championships.
Wilshere, who had previously made just two substitute appearances for Arsene Wenger’s team this season following a ten-month shin injury lay-off, started his first game of the season during the 4-0 victory over an already-relegated Villa team.
But while the 24-year-old is now expected to be named by Hodgson at Wembley in his squad on Monday morning, Arsenal team-mate Theo Walcott is set to miss out. The forward missed Arsenal’s win on Sunday because of a minor hamstring problem, but Arsene Wenger insisted the injury would not rule the winger out of contention should Hodgson wish to pick him.
“Jack is fit,” said the Arsenal manager. “Theo has a little hamstring problem. He is sharp but not available. If he is selected tomorrow he is available for Euros.”
Newcastle United’s Andros Townsend is now set to be given the chance to replace the injured Danny Welbeck in France.
Townsend, who left Tottenham for Newcastle during the January transfer window, has not played for England since winning his tenth cap during the qualifying victory away to Lithuania last October.
Hodgson is a long-term admirer of Townsend, who has scored three goals in his ten appearances for England to date, and his form for Newcastle and England track record has been enough the 24-year-old to edge out Walcott and Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard.
With Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson returning from injury as a substitute during the 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday, the two key injury concerns which had prompted Hodgson to postpone the naming of his squad as planned last Thursday – Wilshere and Henderson – have now been eased ahead of Monday’s announcement.
Hodgson is set to name his 23-man squad, but also include up to three stand-by players who will train with the squad and be available for the forthcoming friendlies against Turkey, Australia and Portugal.
Marcus Rashford, the United forward, will be named among the stand-by players, but with the Old Trafford club due to face Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final on Saturday – and also stage the abandoned Premier League fixture against AFC Bournemouth – the 18-year-old will not be available to face Turkey at the Etihad Stadium next Sunday.
There is likely to be disappointment for Phil Jagielka, Michael Carrick and Danny Drinkwater when Hodgson’s squad is revealed, with Everton defender Jagielka the man to miss out with Hodgson expected to select only seven defenders.
Hodgson has until May 31 to formally submit his squad to Uefa, handing him the opportunity to replace injured players ahead of that deadline.
GK: Hart, Forster, Heaton (3)
DEF: Clyne, Walker, Smalling, Stones, Cahill, Rose, Bertrand (7)
MID: Sterling, Milner, Dier, Wilshere, Henderson, Alli, Barkley, Lallana, Townsend (8)
FORWARDS: Rooney, Kane, Vardy, Sturridge (4)