By THOMAS FLOYD
England's quest to capture the European championship has taken another considerable step back.
Frank Lampard has been ruled out for the tournament with a thigh injury that he picked up in training this week, making him the second key player to be forced out of the squad after Gareth Barry had to drop out as well. The injuries leave England perilously thin in central midfield.
"It’s a huge blow for the team, especially coming after the loss of another senior player in Gareth Barry," England manager Roy Hodgson said in a statement on The FA's website. "The fact that the doctor cannot guarantee Frank could take part in any of the group matches means we have to replace him in the central midfield area."
Young Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson has been called into the team to take Lampard's spot.
Here are some more stories to keep your Thursday rolling:
AC MILAN, REAL MADRID TO MEET IN WFC
Yankee Stadium may be a shrine to the national pastime, but on two days there this summer, the world's game will take center stage.
MLS announced Thursday that AC Milan will play Real Madrid at the Bronx venue Aug. 8 in a World Football Challenge friendly. The match will take place less than three weeks after Chelsea faces Paris Saint-Germain there July 22.
Madrid had already announced matches against the Los Angeles Galaxy on Aug. 2, Juventus on Aug. 5 in Las Vegas, and Celtic on Aug. 11 in Philadelphia. Milan will take on Chelsea on July 28 in Miami, as well as an unannounced opponent in Pittsburgh on Aug. 4.
LIVERPOOL AGREES WITH SWANSEA FOR RODGERS COMPENSATION
Liverpool has taken another step toward appointing Brendan Rodgers as manager, agreeing to a compensation package with Swansea City to secure the services of the 39-year-old.
Swansea was entitled to about $8 million in compensation for Rodgers, who has more than three years left on his contract. As part of the deal, the club will receive payouts for several members of the coaching staff who are expected to join Rodgers at Anfield.
NORWICH REJECTS LAMBERT RESIGNATION
Paul Lambert offered his resignation as Norwich City manager amid rumors he will take the same post with Aston Villa, but the club has rejected the gesture. Under Lambert, Norwich earned promotion to the English Premier League for this past season and finished 12th with a 12-15-11 mark.
"We have fought hard to keep Paul at Norwich and have not accepted his resignation whilst discussions with another club are taking place," a Norwich statement said. "However, whatever happens, we want to place on record our sincere gratitude for everything Paul has done for the club over the last three fantastic seasons."
SPAIN, NETHERLANDS AMONG FRIENDLY WINNERS
Spain's preparations to defend its Euro title continued without a hitch Wednesday, as La Roja notched a 4-1 win over South Korea behind goals from Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso, Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Negredo.
How major is Lampard's injury for England? Are you excited to see AC Milan take on Real Madrid at Yankee Stadium? What do you think of Rodgers' taking his Swansea staff to Liverpool? Should Norwich have accepted Lambert's resignation?
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