Soccer-England hit by injuries ahead of qualifiers

Reuters

LONDON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Sunday's Premier League matches have done England no favours ahead of their crunch World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine, with at least four players in doubt after suffering injuries or illness.

Wayne Rooney, Glen Johnson, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Wilshere picked up knocks of varying severity, giving manager Roy Hodgson headaches before Friday's match against Moldova and the trip to Ukraine the following Tuesday.

Rooney missed Manchester United's 1-0 defeat by Liverpool after team mate Phil Jones accidentally kicked him in the head during training on Saturday.

"He got a cut down the middle of his forehead which was completely accidental," United manager David Moyes told Sky Sport.

"I've got to say it's quite a bad cut and it will probably keep him out for a few weeks.

"I would think he has no chance (of playing for England)."

Liverpool defender Johnson left Anfield on crutches and Sturridge, who scored the winner after just four minutes and was in line to replace Rooney in the England side, will also be assessed due to thigh problems.

"He has struggled in the last couple of games and we need to think of Liverpool first," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said.

Wilshere, who has suffered numerous injuries during his career, was replaced near the end of the first half of Arsenal's match against Tottenham Hotspur, reportedly due to illness.

England lie second in Group H, trailing Montenegro by two points with a game in hand and only one point ahead of Ukraine.

(Reporting by Josh Reich, editing by Ed Osmond)

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