The Sunderland winger Adam Johnson yesterday became the latest England player to withdraw owing to injury from Roy Hodgson's squad for the World Cup qualifier against Moldova tomorrow.
The 24-year-old is understood to have picked up the injury during the squad's final training session yesterday. The squad are due to fly to Chisinau today. The decision to send him back to Sunderland for treatment was made yesterday afternoon and it was not clear at that point whether a replacement would be sought.
The timing of Johnson's withdrawal makes it especially difficult for Hodgson to replace him. The usual source of late replacements for the senior squad is the Under-21s, but they are already in Baku for a game against Azerbaijan tonight.
Johnson, 24, is the latest player to withdraw following injuries to Andy Carroll, out for six weeks with a hamstring problem, and Ashley Cole, who is hoping to be fit for Tuesday's qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley. Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young were ruled out before the squad was announced.
Hodgson picked a 24-man squad in order to accommodate late withdrawals and is well-covered for wide players with James Milner, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among his midfielders. Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck can also play wide.
Johnson completed his £12m move to Sunderland from Manchester City only two weeks ago. One of the reasons cited was to push his case with England, where he has been overlooked in the past. He has 12 caps for England and started the previous game, the friendly win over Italy in Switzerland.Reuse content