Wilshere on track for World Cup place, says England boss Hodgson

England manager Roy Hodgson says Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere is likely to go to the World Cup, even if he does not play club football again this season.

The Gunners star has long been dogged by injury problems, his latest foot complaint having seen him out of action since March 5, but is back in training and the Three Lions boss has been keeping close tabs on his progress.

“He has been training with the first team for a while,” Hodgson told the press. “I have spoken to Arsene [Wenger] and they have been holding him back simply because they don’t want to push him too early.

“The important thing is not to take players who are definitely unfit when we leave and who definitely cannot do anything until we are well into our training camp.

“It is a person-to-person judgment as well. If Steven Gerrard gets injured, for example, and Liverpool tell me he is going to be out for three weeks but fit in a month, I would still take him.

“I am not prepared to have a 100 per cent rule that either you play in the last game of the season and are 100% or you don’t go. But I do want to know, in Wilshere’s case, that he is training with the others, even if he is not being thrown back into the fray, and, when it comes to [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain], that he just needs a couple of weeks’ rest.

“Kyle [Walker, out since March 13 with a groin injury] is the more difficult one because it is a long time since he has been fit.”

Tottenham winger Andros Townsend, introduced to positive effect by Hodgson in October as England wrapped up qualification, will not be going to Brazil after picking up an ankle injury and the 66-year-old has sympathy for the youngster.

“I am very disappointed, I have to say,” Hodgson lamented. “I am disappointed for him in particular because he had a fantastic debut for England, bursting on to the scene, and did really well.

“I have been a bit disappointed for him that he has not had as much playing time over recent months as I was hoping but to see him ruled out like this with a serious ankle injury is a cruel blow.

“My thoughts are very much with him and the only thing I can say is the classic ‘he is young and there will be lots of other opportunities’ but I am sure that won’t make him feel better at the moment when his chance to get into the squad has been taken away from him.”