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Liverpool FC’s Martin Kelly could be handed first England cap in Norway friendly as Anfield team-mate Glen Johnson struggles with injury

LIVERPOOL defender Glen Johnson is a major fitness doubt for England’s friendly against Norway in Oslo tomorrow.

LIVERPOOL defender Glen Johnson is a major fitness doubt for England’s friendly against Norway in Oslo tomorrow.

The Reds right-back limped out of training just minutes into a session at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium yesterday.

The Football Association revealed Johnson is suffering from an infected toe and is having treatment in a bid to be fit for Roy Hodgson’s first game as England boss.

If Johnson fails to recover then Liverpool clubmate Martin Kelly could earn a first senior cap against the Norwegians.

Kelly was called up as defensive cover earlier this week but the 22-year-old is expected to return to Merseyside after the weekend.

Johnson is Hodgson’s only recognised right-back in the 23-man squad for Euro 2012 following Micah Richards’ omission and injury to Tottenham’s Kyle Walker.

Manchester United’s Phil Jones would be the favourite to deputise at right-back tomorrow, but Kelly is in contention to play some part in the friendly.

Reds trio Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll are all fit to face Norway.

Joleon Lescott is likely to start alongside former Everton team-mate Phil Jagielka.

The other major fitness doubt is Danny Welbeck, who trained away from the main group at the Etihad Stadium as he eased his way back after a recent ankle problem.

Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker showed no ill effects after a recent injection into his Achilles, suggesting he will be able to take his place in Hodgson’s 23-man squad, who will open their Group D campaign against France in Donetsk on June 11.

With Terry and Gary Cahill both likely to be available for next weekend’s Wembley encounter with Belgium, the Norway trip offers an obvious opportunity for Lescott to impress Hodgson, who is clearly more hands-on than predecessor Fabio Capello.

“The biggest difference between Roy Hodgson and Fabio Capello is communication,” said Lescott.

“The manager’s first language is English so Roy gets his point across pretty well.”

New coach Gary Neville was also seen to be offering advise to the squad during yesterday’s training session.

“He was keen,” said Lescott.

“As soon as the manager said he was joining in he had his boots on and was ready to go.

“I worked with Phil Neville more than Gary in the past but if he is anything like him he is a born winner.

“I saw him address a number of players throughout the session. If he can pass on his experience, it is great for everyone.”

 

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