Michael Carrick last night withdrew from the England squad for this month's 2010 World Cup qualifiers, leaving Fabio Capello one central midfielder light as his players train for the first time today.
The England medical department were informed yesterday that Carrick, 27, had a problem and would not be able to play in Saturday's World Cup qualifier away to Kazakhstan or the match at home to Andorra four days later. It could open the door for Jermaine Jenas; his Spurs team-mate Tom Huddlestone is unavailable after surgery on his knee.
Capello is already without goalkeepers David James and Ben Foster, and Stewart Downing and Aaron Lennon as well as long-term absentee Owen Hargreaves. He is confident that Rio Ferdinand will be fit.
The four England squad members who played in Saturday's FA Cup final – John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Joleon Lescott – all emerged unscathed from the game.
Capelllo said that the defeat to Barcelona in Wednesday's Champions League final should not affect his Manchester United players.
He said: "I reached three [European Cup] finals and only won one, but you always have to look to the future. You have to forget what happened and move forward. In football we are very lucky; we can win immediately after losing. For these players the next game will be very important for this reason."
England are five points clear of second-place Croatia in qualifying group six and will virtually have qualified for South Africa if results go their way in the next 10 days.