England dealt Townsend blow

England boss Roy Hodgson has been handed a blow ahead of this summer’s World Cup following the news that Tottenham winger Andros Townsend has been ruled out of the tournament with an ankle injury. The Spurs star picked up the injury after coming on against Stoke in the second half, with further scans confirming the 22-year old now faces up to 10 weeks on the sidelines with the injury.

The winger burst onto the international scene earlier this season with a sensational goal-scoring performance in the 4-1 victory against Montenegro, featuring in the side that booked their place in Brazil with a 2-0 victory over Brazil. Despite his limited top-flight experience, Townsend’s early-season form and performances for England had led some to label the winger as a certainty to make Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad.

Despite spending much of his time with Spurs out on loan, Townsend took advantage of Gareth Bale’s departure at the beginning of the season to cement himself as part of Andre Villas-Boas’ plans. After initially starring in the Spurs first team this season, injury and a loss of form saw Townsend slip down the pecking order under Tim Sherwood.

While his lack of playing time had damaged his hopes of making this summer’s tournament, the Spurs winger’s injury has now appeared to have scuppered his World Cup hopes, robbing Hodgson of a player capable of bringing something different to his squad this summer.

“Following further examination and consultation, Andros Townsend is to undergo surgery on his left ankle after damaging ligaments during our fixture against Stoke City last Saturday. The injury is likely to sideline the young winger for up to 10 weeks,” said a club statement.

Roy Hodgson will name his provisional England World Cup squad on 12 May, with Townsend now expected to miss out due to injury. With Theo Walcott and Jay Rodriguez already ruled out of this summer’s World Cup with their respective injuries, Hodgson’s options on the wing are somewhat limited.

The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, James Milner and Adam Lallana are all capable of playing on the wing for England in this summer’s tournament, but losing natural wide men like Walcott and Townsend will have given Hodgson some headaches ahead of his squad unveiling.

While Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson have both fallen out of favour with the England manager over the past 12 months, both wingers have caught the eye for their club sides since the turn of the year and could have played their way into Hodgson’s consideration following the injury to Townsend and Walcott, according to fans of bet365.com/news/en/betting/football.

Hodgson has kept his cards close to his chest regarding his 23-man squad in the run up to the May 12th unveiling, but it’s still thought there are places up for grabs in the mind of the England boss. With two games left of this Premier League season, time is running out for those World Cup hopefuls to earn their place on the plane to Brazil in June.