Welbeck’s suspension adds to England striker woes

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Danny Welbeck. Sang Tan/AP

LONDON — England has a shortage of strikers for Tuesday’s key World Cup qualifier against Ukraine, with Danny Welbeck now suspended for the match in Kiev.

Spearheading the attack on Friday against Moldova, Welbeck earned his second booking of the qualification campaign during the 4-0 win before scoring twice.

The yellow card was given in the first half at Wembley Stadium for shooting at goal in the split-second after referee Ivan Kruzliak blew for offside.

“You can’t always hear the referee’s whistle,” Welbeck said. “Even then I believe I was onside and I wanted to put it in the back of the net. The main thing is to play your part for the team.”

England coach Roy Hodgson said the booking overshadowed the easy win.

“I don’t think there’ll be too many people, even in the refereeing fraternity, who will say that was a clear yellow card,” he said. “A 40 yard sprint, a ball that arrives on your foot, a split second between the whistle blowing and the shot.

“You’ll have to try very hard to persuade me that was a booking. He’s out of the game. We’ll live with it, deal with it, but I’m not prepared to go down that route that these things happen.”

The Manchester United striker had previously been booked for diving against Montenegro in March.

Hodgson’s front-line options had already curtailed over the last week by injuries to Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge.

However, Rickie Lambert, who scored a goal and set up two other goals on Friday, has kept his name in contention for a third England appearance on Tuesday.

“Playing for England, and scoring a goal, left me wanting more,” the 31-year-old Southampton striker said. “I’m hoping I’ve given them a different option, that’s all I can do.”

Hodgson said he is confident that the striker shortage can be overcome.

“It’s not many teams that can survive the loss of two quality center forwards like Rooney and Sturridge and win 4-0,” Hodgson said.

Another option for Hodgson in Kiev is Jermain Defoe, who did not feature off the bench in Friday night’s win, which saw Steven Gerrard open the scoring.

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