Danny Welbeck injury creates striking dilemma for England manager Roy Hodgson

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Football News

Roy Hodgson's decision on Danny Welbeck's replacement will be one of the main talking points when the England manager names his provisional party for Euro 2016 on Monday.

The 23 men charged with leading the country to glory was due to be announced on Thursday, only for a late change of heart by the coaching staff which led to the news being pushed back.

The desire to better assess players' fitness after the final Premier League matches of the season was cited as a reason for the delay, with the decision coming before the severity of Welbeck's knee injury became clear.

The injury Welbeck sustained during last weekend's 2-2 draw against Manchester City required surgery and will rule the 25-year-old out for the next nine months.

It is also a big blow to England and one which opens up a place in the squad, with Theo Walcott, Andros Townsend and perhaps even Jesse Lingard vying for the berth.

Alternatively, Welbeck's injury could open the door for an out-and-out striker such as Andy Carroll, Marcus Rashford or Jermain Defoe.

The latter's 15-goal haul makes the Sunderland striker the top English scorer in the Premier League after Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy and lifts his prospects of figuring for his country for the first time since November 2013.

"If I do go it'll be a dream because it'll be my third tournament and playing for England is something that I've always wanted to do," Defoe said this week.

"I'm happy with the way I've performed this season. I've ticked every box and if I don't go then I can say at least I've done everything right."

Defoe and Carroll's late surge for the squad is not a patch on Rashford's given he only made his first-team debut for Manchester United in February.

The 18-year-old's impressive displays have forced him into Hodgson's thoughts and it is understood the striker may be called up to work with the seniors before Euro 2016.

A similar arrangement was made with Jon Flanagan and John Stones before the World Cup two years ago, when the pair made their debuts in pre-tournament friendlies - a path Rashford could follow in the friendly against Australia on May 27.

FA Cup final duties with Manchester United next Saturday would rule Rashford out of England's match against Turkey the following day, while Liverpool's involvement in the Europa League would also impact that match.

Defensively things seem more settled for Hodgson, although there is the dilemma of how many defenders to take.

"The 23, don't forget, you have to take three goalkeepers and you've got to take at least seven back players," the England manager said last month.

"I suppose you might argue you could take six but it would be a very, very risky thing to do to take six back players to play the number of games we hope to play.

"Most people would agree that seven is a minimum on the back players, so there are 10 of your places gone for starters. So you're left with 13 places and that's for all your midfielders and forwards."

Everton defender Phil Jagielka's position looks the most precarious, despite captaining his country during the qualification campaign, and defensive midfielder Eric Dier's ability to play in the back line may perhaps sway the manager's decision.

Reports suggest Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson will get the nod despite concerns over their fitness, while Leicester's Danny Drinkwater, who impressed on his debut against Holland in March, is vying for a spot in the squad.

Hodgson has until May 31 to confirm his 23-man squad to tournament organisers UEFA, with Russia, Wales and Slovakia the teams in England's group at Euro 2016.

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