Danny Welbeck
England expected to provide update on Welbeck fitness on Wednesday.

Danny Welbeck was forced to limp out of a training session on Tuesday, leaving his participation in England's World Cup opener against Italy in doubt.

The Manchester United forward reportedly suffered a thigh strain at the Three Lions' Urca military base headquarters and is currently being assessed ahead of Saturday's clash with the Azzurri.

Welbeck, 23, has been central to Hodgson's first team plans despite his struggles for consistent opportunities at club level, having scored eight goals in 20 games under Hodgson, including five in 12 competitive games.

Welbeck's possible absence in Manaus on Saturday night opens the door for Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling. Despite picking up a card card in last week's warm up match with Ecuador and subsequently missing Saturday's game with Honduras, the 19-year-old has impressed in training, operating in space behind club teammate Daniel Sturridge with Wayne Rooney occupying space on the left.

Despite playing only 39 minutes of football over the last month, Hodgson recently insisted Sterling was "as fit as a flea," suggesting he will have no qualms in throwing him in against the 2006 world champions.

"It was unfortunate that he couldn't play against Honduras but I can tell you that Raheem Sterling is very much in the group of players I'm considering," the England boss said on Tuesday.

"If I select him, it won't be in my opinion a risk that he hasn't played so many minutes. And if I don't select him, it certainly won't be because he has only played 39 minutes. It will be because I prefer someone else. That's all I can tell you."

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Hodgson allayed fears over Steven Gerrard, insisting there is "nothing wrong" with the England and Liverpool skipper.

The Three Lions boss was less certain over the return date of Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, however. The 20-year-old suffered medial knee ligament damage against Ecuador but has featured in training this week and could return for his side's second group game against Uruguay on 19 June.

"Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did very well, you may have seen the running he was doing. Very positive, he was running so well and so fast and we will be stepping up his recovery in due course.

"A job for me to say when he will be back, medical matter. We are hoping for Uruguay but no guarantee."