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Mass withdrawals hit international friendlies

It is not only Nigeria that will be fielding a make-shift team in Miami, USA when the Super Eagles take on Venezuela tonight, almost all the countries participating in international friendlies today and tomorrow will be missing the services of most of their regulars in their setups.

England manager Roy Hodgson will go to Sweden on Wednesday with a squad stripped of a number of key players.

Theo Walcott is out after limping out of Arsenal’s draw against Fulham on Saturday, joining Wayne Rooney who had to come off after taking a knock with 11 minutes left to play in Manchester United’s win over Aston Villa.

Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon are also now unable to play, prompting Hodgson to call up Arsenal defender Carl Jenkinson, Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

Caretaker Scotland manager Billy Stark has been hit by nine withdrawals for the friendly in Luxembourg on Wednesday, but Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths has been given his first call-up.

Goalkeeper David Marshall, defender Phil Bardsley, midfielders James Morrison, Shaun Maloney, Charlie Adam, Matt Phillips, Barry Bannan and strikers Steven Fletcher and Jamie Mackie have all pulled out.

Germany will be missing the services of influential midfielder Mesuit Ozil while Holland will also do battle without prolific scorer, Robbin van Persie.



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