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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 August 2006, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Ashton breaks ankle in training
Dean Ashton
Follow England v Greece (KO 2005 BST) live on BBC One, BBC Radio Five Live & the BBC Sport website
Striker Dean Ashton is out of England's friendly against Greece at Old Trafford on Wednesday after breaking an ankle during training.

John Terry took part in training for the first time since being named captain but 22-year-old Ashton's withdrawal overshadowed the session.

The West Ham player will miss the start of the Premiership season and could be out for as long as 12 weeks.

Ashton was set to start against Greece and make his England debut.

England coach Steve McClaren had based part of his training around the Hammers forward but the injury, which was suffered halfway through training on Tuesday, has forced the new national team boss into a rethink.

McClaren said: "We did some work with Dean on Monday and were going to do some more this morning but these things happen in football.

"We are just very sorry to see this happen."

Terry sympathised with Ashton and added: "I'm not too sure what happened.

"The defenders were away doing defensive situations and the strikers doing their bits and pieces.

We are absolutely devastated - It's a massive blow for Deano and his family, and for everybody here at West Ham United

West Ham boss Alan Pardew

"We just heard a moan from Dean and we all looked round. He was on the floor and all of a sudden everybody was rushing over."

Ashton's injury will provide more ammunition for critics of playing an international friendly only three days before the start of the Premiership campaign.

But McClaren defended the friendly and insisted: "These games are very important.

"We stressed that to the players in a meeting on Monday.

"They should be proud to wear the shirt and badge - no matter what game it is. You still have to put a performance in and guarantee and warrant a place in the team.

"Yes, it is a friendly but we want to win, we want to play well and we want to put things in place for the future."

West Ham boss Alan Pardew put a brave face on Ashton's injury as he prepares his side for the game against Charlton on Saturday.

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"We are absolutely devastated," he told the club's website. "It's a massive blow for Deano and his family, and for everybody here at West Ham United.

"We are extremely disappointed by the news but, on a positive note, we still have four quality strikers at this club, which will suppress the blow somewhat.

"We look forward to a speedy recovery from Deano and hope to see him back in action very soon."



SEE ALSO
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