Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Euro 2008: AJ to miss vital England matches

Everton hit man Andrew Johnson will undergo surgery on his ankle after pulling out of the England squad for the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia. England are currently trading at 8 to 1 odds to win Euro 2008 with internet sportsbook SBG Global. It is a blow for England because the talented 26-year-old came off the bench to drag his force his side back into their match with Newcastle at St James' Park with a 53rd-minute equaliser. Afterwards, Everton boss David Moyes confirmed to reporters after the game that Andrew Johnson will have an operation. Johnson had surgery on his other ankle last season and is expected to be out for up to four weeks.

Said Moyes: "It is a big blow for Everton (and obviously) England. We have known for a while he has had a problem with his ankle and he has also been carrying a groin injury, which kept him out recently. With the international break, unfortunately for England, it is probably the best time to get his ankle sorted now. We just know he has got a problem and Andy wants it sorted, so we have to get that done."

The news came on a bad day on Tyneside for Everton, who went behind to Nicky Butt's 42nd-minute goal after seeing the Magpies miss a series of earlier opportunities. Johnson came on as a half-time replacement for Scottish star James McFadden. Johnson scored within eight minutes of coming on as sub.

But that was the only good news for the Toffees as Emre cracked home a 25-yarder four minutes from time. Michael Owen then deflected in the third goal off his shoulder in injury time. Showing fighting spirit Everton reduced the deficit when Shay Given palmed Mikel Arteta's deflected cross into his own net but by that stage the game was well won by Newcastle.

Sam Allardyce, the Newcastle boss said: "Michael came on and won us the game, and you can see the importance of him. It would have been a disaster for us had a fluke goal for Everton in the 92nd minute got them something."

Written by Zico Kelly