Injured Woodgate likely to miss rest of season

April 6, 2006

MADRID, April 6 (Reuters) - Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate is likely to miss the rest of the season because of sciatic pain linked to a succession of thigh injuries, coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro said on Thursday.

The news puts paid to any lingering hopes the England centre-back had of making the World Cup.

'They are doing a lot of tests and looking at a variety of options,' Lopez Caro told a news conference on Thursday when asked about the defender's injury problems.

'They are looking to see what option will leave him in the best condition.

'I don't know if he will be ready for this season, they are doing quite a lot of studies and we don't know how long this will all take.'

The 26-year-old has played only nine league games this season following his return from an 18-month lay-off because of a torn thigh muscle.

Woodgate had been on the verge of returning to the England squad in November before suffering a hamstring injury during a league match against Real Zaragoza.

The former Leeds and Newcastle United defender won the last of his five caps for England in a friendly against Sweden in March 2004.