England winger Theo Walcott is a doubt for Tuesday's UEFA EURO 2012 clash with Ukraine after he pulled out of training today following "a tightness in his hamstring". Manager Roy Hodgson confirmed the news this afternoon and whilst it is not thought the damage is too serious, it may mean Walcott is not available to face the co-hosts.
"Unfortunately he had a slight setback in training," Hodgson told BBC Radio Five Live. "He felt the hamstring that kept him out for so long at the end of the season and which we were slightly concerned about when he came to us," added Hodgson.
"We have been lucky nothing has occurred with that but in a little training session today we had to take the precaution of taking him from the field because he felt some tightness there.
"Whether he is a real contender for a starting position will depend upon what the medical people can tell me and how much guarantee they can give me that if I do start him he won't be leaving the field after five minutes, forcing us to have 13 men rather than the 14 I would rather count on."
Walcott missed two Arsenal games after injuring his hamstring against Chelsea, returning as a second-half substitute during the final day encounter with West Bromwich Albion. Hodgson would want to have Walcott available to face Ukraine after an outstanding contribution to Friday's win over Sweden, when he came off the bench to score his first goal in almost four years, then set up Danny Welbeck for the winner.
Meanwhile, Hodgson has confirmed Wayne Rooney, who returns from his two-match ban and is set to be partnered by Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck against Ukraine, is under consideration to be the new England vice-captain.
"We haven't designated one yet but he is very much a candidate," said Hodgson. "Quite frankly, with him not being available we haven't really felt the necessity before now to decide on that. But we are very much considering him for that position, yes."
The England coach also lavished praise on full-back Ashley Cole, who will break the record held jointly by Peter Shilton and David Beckham when he makes his 21st tournament appearance at the Donbass Arena. "He misses very few games, either for his national team or club team, and always plays to a very high level," said Hodgson.
"It is great to hear that he has this record to beat when he plays against the Ukraine. I am delighted for him. It would be wrong to take him for granted. We are very much aware of his qualities and how much we need him down that left side. Because he is a quiet man, maybe for a lot of people he does slip under the radar. I know he is most comfortable when he lets his football do the talking."