Brazil striker Fred fit for England friendly

Rio de Janeiro, June 1 (IANS) Brazil striker Fred has declared himself ready to start in Sunday's international friendly against England at the revamped Maracana Stadium, despite nursing a broken rib.

The 29-year-old Fluminense frontman suffered the injury during the early stages of his side's 1-2 defeat to Olimpia in Rio Wednesday, a result that eliminated the Rio outfit from Copa Libertadores, reports Xinhua.

"It's difficult but it's important to make the sacrifice. Pain is normal. Every player knows what it's like to play through it. I am able to play normally. If I cop a knock I will have to grin and bear it until the end," Fred said during Brazil's training session at Flamengo's Gavea base Friday.

England also have their share of injury concerns with forwards Jermain Defoe (achilles), Danny Wellbeck (knee) and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (calf) in doubt for Sunday's match. The team's dearth of attacking options means coach Roy Hodgson could deploy Arsenal's Theo Walcott as a central striker and Rooney in a deep-lying role.

Walcott trained in an advanced position at the Urca military base Friday and admits he would relish the opportunity be England's target man at the Maracana.

"It will be fantastic. I said I wanted to play up front. People say I have played up front, but I have had limited opportunities this year I have played on the wing and got most of my goals from there. Playing for England in any position is a dream. The manager picks the team and whoever plays will go out and do a job and hope to win. I have had a go in training, so we will see," Walcott said.

"I think I am the top English scorer in the Premier League. My confidence is good and that was from playing on the wing. I will play anywhere for club and country and the goal-scoring side of things have got much better."

Both Brazil and England will train at the Maracana Saturday ahead of the friendly, which will be the Maracana's official reopening after three years of refurbishment work.

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