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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
May 1, 2014

Arsenal pair set to make World Cup

England manager Roy Hodgson has been assured by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger that Gunners duo Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be fit for the World Cup.

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Hodgson will be without Arsenal winger Theo Walcott, Southampton's Jay Rodriguez and Tottenham winger Andros Townsend for the tournament in Brazil, which kicks off in Sao Paulo on June 12.

Doubts persist over others though, including Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is carrying a groin injury, and Wilshere, who broke his foot during England's win over Denmark in March.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere should be fit for the trip to Brazil.

However, Hodgson is hopeful that the pair will be fit and available for selection when he announces his squad on May 12.

"Jack Wilshere has been training for the Arsenal team for a while," Hodgson said. "I spoke to Arsene, who said he was holding him back.

"And from my conversation with Arsene, I don't think there is too much to worry about with Oxlade-Chamberlain either."

Townsend was ruled out for 10 weeks on Thursday, when Tottenham confirmed he needs to undergo ankle surgery. Another Spurs player, Kyle Walker, is also a doubt.

Walker looked set to go to Brazil as Hodgson's first-choice right-back following a series of impressive displays earlier this season when Glen Johnson was out through injury.

However, the defender suffered a pelvic injury during Tottenham's defeat to Benfica seven weeks ago, and has not played since.

Spurs have informed Hodgson that Walker has had an injection to try to help his rehabilitation, but it may be too late for the former Sheffield United right-back.

"We haven't been told for certain that he will be out for the next six to 10 weeks but we are concerned that it has been a long time he has been out," Hodgson, who could call up Liverpool's uncapped defender Jon Flanagan if Walker is not fit, said.

"During that time he has not been able to do any training with the rest of the team as far as I know.

"I know he has had another injection. We are waiting to find out whether that helps. He has not been fit for a long time."

Should Walker miss out on the World Cup, it would be a big blow for the defender, who also missed Euro 2012 through injury. It would also be disappointing news for Tottenham, whose winger Andros Townsend has been ruled out of the tournament in Brazil.

Townsend's stunning debut against Montenegro last October was probably enough to guarantee the young winger a place in Hodgson's 23-man squad -- but he suffered ankle ligament damage against Stoke on Saturday and now requires an operation.

Hodgson is sure Townsend can make a full recovery and aid England in their Euro 2016 qualification campaign.

"I am very disappointed for Andros," Hodgson said. "He had a fantastic debut. I have been a bit disappointed he has not had as much playing time over recent months as I was hoping he would get but to see him ruled out like this with a serious ankle injury is a cruel blow.

"My thoughts are very much with him but he is young. There will be lots of other opportunities although I am sure that won't make him feel better at the moment because his chance to get into the squad has been taken away from him."

Ever since the turn of the year Hodgson has dreaded the possibility that one of his players would be struck by the England pre-World Cup injury curse.

Hodgson is also confident that Everton defender Phil Jagielka, who has played regularly alongside Gary Cahill for England, will recover from the hamstring injury which has kept him out since Feb. 22.

"We have had good reports back [about Jagielka] for the last few weeks," the former Fulham manager said. "He has had a problem but he has been participating to a decent level in training.

"Everton have been keen not to throw him back in before his injury is 100 percent right. We don't have any fears he won't be fit to come with us. It seems he might be back in (the Everton team) on Saturday." 

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