HODGSON STILL CONFIDENT

Roy Hodgson says that he is remaining confident about the fitness of midfielder Michael Carrick ahead of the Euro 2016 qualifying match against Estonia. The England national team can complete a miraculous turnaround following a disappointing World Cup if they reach the Euro 2016 with several games to spare. England have won all of their qualification matches so far and are now seen as strong favourites for the title.

Once the final qualification games against Estonia and Lithuania are done with, England can focus on the friendly matches against the likes of Spain and France in coming months.

A major worry for England will be the fitness of Carrick. Despite being in his mid-30s, the former Tottenham midfielder continues to remain as an important part of the national team. He is the primary source of experience now that the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, and Steven Gerrard have left. A couple of important injury worries also include Wayne Rooney and Danny Ings. Hodgson says that even though Carrick trained fully with the team, he felt a slight irritation in the groin area. This would see England taking extra precaution with him since the game is meaningless after having had 100% success so far.

"Michael Carrick trained fully in quite an intense training session on Wednesday but he had a re-occurrence of a feeling that he sometimes gets in his groin – a slight tightening of the groin – and we didn’t want to take any chances in what was a fairly light session before the match. So we decided to rest him for the session on the basis that it will help him be fit for tomorrow night. We have been waiting for his ankle injury to settle down,” said Hodgson. England were knocked out of the Euro 2012 at the quarter-final stage.