Belfast Telegraph

Wilshere and the Ox fit for England

By Sam Wallace

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere will be fit and ready to travel to Portugal today with the England squad – the players confirmed after Saturday's FA Cup final, which is good news for manager Roy Hodgson.

The England World Cup squad meet for the first time today at St George's Park near Burton-on-Trent and leave for their training week in Vale Do Lobo, the first part of Hodgson's tournament preparations, with injury concerns over the Arsenal pair allayed. There are still major worries about Phil Jones' fitness to feature in the tournament.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has not played since April 20 but was close to being selected, Arsène Wenger confirmed, for Saturday's FA Cup final win over Hull.

The Arsenal manager said: "He was desperate to play. Pain-wise, he could have played.

"I judged him short physically and I felt that, in the game, I wanted to play the players who were completely fit and prepared.

"They said to me he can play 20 or 30 minutes but you cannot programme it like that. That's why I left him out. He is on the way up but he needs more fitness work now. He is OK for England. It was a difficult decision to leave him out."

Wilshere made his second substitute appearance since he broke a navicular bone in his left foot playing for England against Denmark on March 5. The midfielder said later that he had been in training for the last three weeks but had been held back by Wenger until he built up his strength.

Wilshere said: "I haven't been in the squad (before the final day of the league season) because we agreed with the manager that it was right that I got a good base fitness. I have been in the last two squads and I have played 45 minutes altogether. I feel fresh and a good week of training in Portugal will do me good."

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