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Infantino backs transfer-market reform

 By Kevin Palmer

Fears over Oxlade-Chamberlain knee

England manager Roy Hodgson fears winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered knee ligament damage in the 2-2 draw against Ecuador in Miami, putting his place in the World Cup finals in serious jeopardy.

Arsenal winger Oxlade-Chamberlain was a doubt to be named in the initial England 23-man squad as he battled back from injury and it seems his curse has struck again, after he 20-year-old limped out of the feisty clash with Ecuador.

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"Oxlade-Chamberlain is the one that bothers. His knee buckled under the challenge as the player turned into him," said Hodgson. "He'll have a scan tomorrow, I'd imagine. When we've had the scan, we'll know more. We have our fears there might be some ligament damage.

"I'm hoping we don't have to make a decision [on calling up a replacement]. I'm hoping the scan will show that it's not that serious. I doubt he will make Saturday's game, but I will not start thinking about anything else until I get the bad news."

Hodgson went on to defend Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling after he was sent off following a clash with Manchester United's Antonio Valencia, with the England boss quick to lambaste the Ecuador winger who was also shown a red card for his reaction to the challenge.

"Maybe the referee felt he had to send Raheem off as well to keep a few people happy," stated Hodgson. "I'm disappointed. I thought it was a fierce challenge from young Raheem, not a foul challenge. He played the ball and accelerated into the ball.

"I'm disappointed with Antonio's reaction, grabbing the player. Had he not jumped up there wouldn't have been a problem but, when he does that, the referee had to deal with that and sent Raheem off. I'm pleased Raheem didn't react to a lot of people milling around him.

"Jack [Wilshere] had been on the receiving end a few minutes early from a very similar challenge from an Ecuadorian player and did not react. Apart from that, I felt the referee handled the game quite well.

Hodgson declared himself satisfied with his team's performance, as he welcomed the chance to play in warm conditions in Miami ahead of their World Cup opener in what may be a sweltering Manaus on June 14th.

"We are glad it was hot and in the first half, we started so well that we could have been three or four goals up before we got hit by that amazing cold shower the first game they got anywhere near our penalty box," added Hodgson.

"It is a bit of a disappointment to end with a draw, but the chance to give everyone a game, the chance to get used to these hot conditions, there were so many positives. I'm not going to cry too many tears for not winning it. Some of our attacking play was quite spectacular."


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