Author: Dan Mason
Published: 16:15 13/06/2014
Danny Welbeck's chances of playing against Italy on Saturday night have received a boost, after Wayne Rooney said that his Manchester United team-mate will be fit to play at Manaus for England's opening World Cup fixture.
“Danny will be fine,” said Rooney in a press conference. “He’s not risked anything in training today so he’ll train on Friday and he’ll be available for Saturday, I’m sure.”
Welbeck's chances of starting against the Italians was brought into doubt by thigh strain picked up in training earlier this week, Sky Bet offering odds of 11/8 for him to start on Saturday night.
Rooney - 11/4 to score with Paddy Power - and Daniel Sturridge appear certain to start up front for England, but options behind the strikers remain a mystery until the team sheet is released on Saturday night.
Now available after his red card dismisal against Ecuador, Raheem Sterling may feature for Roy Hodgson's side and is 4/6 to start alongside fellow Liverpool team-mate Sturridge with Sky Bet.
Adam Lallana could feature once again, while Jordan Henderson appears to have won the battle to partner Steven Gerrard in front of the back four.
Italy meanwhile will be forced into a late defensive reshuffle after left-back Mattia De Sciglio has been ruled out through injury. Similarly to Welbeck, the 21-year-old limped out of training with thigh strain and will miss the Group D opener following medical checks.
Italy team doctor Enrico Castellacci said in a statement: “The player underwent an MRI at Angra dos Reis and the test has revealed an oedema in his left femoral biceps. De Sciglio will not be available for the first game against England.”
England are 3/1 to win their crucial Group D match against Italy with Coral, with games against Uruguay and Costa Rica to come for the Three Lions.
Live on BBC One, England and Italy kick-off at 11pm in Manaus on Saturday night, and you can compare the odds for both sides here.