Carrick injury worry for England

MICHAEL CARRICK'S hopes for the World Cup have been dented by the news that he may face surgery on a long-term groin problem.

The West Ham starlet was one of Sven Goran Eriksson's options for the 23-man squad that makes the trip to Korea & Japan in the summer.

However, after being forced off because of mounting pain from the niggling injury in The Irons' game against Southampton, Carrick looks increasingly likely to go under the surgeon's knife.

"The injury has been affecting Michael for a month and we fear it is something stronger than a groin strain," said West Ham manager Glenn Roeder.

"As uncomfortable as it would be for us to be without him for a lengthy period, he is only 20 and we will do whatever we can do to ensure he returns injury-free."

An operation so late in the season would not only mean missing out on the crucial pre-World Cup international friendlies organised as part of the build-up to the tournament, but also leave Carrick with precious few Premiership games to prove that he is an option.

The first of those international warm-up games is later this month when England face Holland, but Carrick is a major doubt according to his manager.

"The Holland game is the last thing in his mind because, if you are not fit, you are not going to do yourself justice," adds Roeder.

Carrick is the second young English player to be hit with news that injuries could scupper plans for the World Cup, after Kieron Dyer was revealed to have suffered a stress fracture to a foot.

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