Gibbs withdraws from England Under-21 squad

Stuart Pearce's dream of fielding the strongest possible England side at the European Under-21 Championships suffered yet another blow today when Kieran Gibbs pulled out of the squad.

Arsenal full-back Gibbs became the fourth of six senior internationals head coach Pearce had picked in his provisional 40-man party to withdraw from this month's finals.



Gibbs, 21, was officially ruled out shortly before the squad departed for Denmark this morning, having aggravated an ankle injury as a second-half substitute in Sunday's final warm-up match against Norway.



His withdrawal followed that of Jack Wilshere, Andy Carroll and Micah Richards, all of whom Pearce had been counting on being available.



Pearce, who elected not to replace Gibbs in what is now a 22-man squad, said: "We have to deal with setbacks every now and again, but we are fortunate to have a squad and a staff with previous tournament experience.



"It's unfortunate for Kieran, but he went for a scan yesterday and is in a medical boot."









Jordan Henderson and Danny Welbeck are now the only two players left in the squad with senior caps, and the latter is not even fully match fit.



Manchester United striker Welbeck, who was forced out of England's squad for the 2009 finals in Sweden, was dogged by knee and hamstring problems during the second half of his season-long loan spell at Sunderland.



The 20-year-old has not completed 90 minutes for club or country in more than two months ahead of England's European Championship opener against Spain on Sunday.



Welbeck, who missed the final month of the season due to his hamstring injury, said: "The disadvantage is I'm not into my match routine, because I haven't played a full game for about six weeks.



"But, on the other hand, you could say I'm a bit fresher if I can get my fitness back up with the other lads'."



There will be no time for Welbeck to ease himself into the finals, with England facing the toughest possible group out in Denmark.



Matches against Czech Republic and Ukraine follow Sunday's mouthwatering curtain-raiser against Spain.



Along with England, the Spanish will be pre-tournament favourites, and they boast more than one senior World Cup-winner in their ranks.



Welbeck said: "Spain are a good team but we're going to go in there and give it our best shot.



"We'll have players in our team they'll fear as well so it should be a good game and I'm looking forward to it."



He added: "I think we've got a really good squad. Everyone's young and hungry and eager to improve, and wanting to be winners."



Welbeck looks certain to start on Sunday, having already made his senior England debut in March's friendly against Ghana.



But the striker said: "There's nobody nailed on to start in the team.



"We've seen from the quality in training that whoever is coming into the team is going to be able to give it their best shot and it's not going to downgrade anything."



Nevertheless, it is extremely unlikely Pearce will break up what could prove a lethal partnership between Welbeck and Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge.



Welbeck said: "You get to know each other and get to develop an understanding with each other and hopefully we can take that with us into the championships."



Welbeck and Sturridge take it in turns to patrol the central and wide areas, while Swansea striker Scott Sinclair could also come into the equation if Pearce opts for a three-pronged attack.



Welbeck said: "When we play up front together, whether we start in the middle or out wide, I think we'll be mixing and matching anyway, so anybody could play in any of the three positions."

News
The guide, since withdrawn, used illustrations and text to help people understand the court process (Getty)
newsMinistry of Justice gets law 'terribly wrong' in its guide to courts
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown with her mother Whitney Houston in 2011
people
News
Starting the day with a three-egg omelette could make people more charitable, according to new research
scienceFeed someone a big omelette, and they may give twice as much, thanks to a compound in the eggs
News
Top Gun actor Val Kilmer lost his small claims court battle in Van Nuys with the landlord of his Malibu mansion to get back his deposit after wallpapering over the kitchen cabinets
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The actress Geraldine McEwan was perhaps best known for playing Agatha Christie's detective, Miss Marple (Rex)
peopleShe won a Bafta in 1991 for her role in Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit
News
newsPatrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
News
Robert Fraser, aka Groovy Bob
peopleA new show honours Robert Fraser, one of the era's forgotten players
Life and Style
Torsten Sherwood's Noook is a simple construction toy for creating mini-architecture
tech
Sport
David Silva celebrates with Sergio Aguero after equalising against Chelsea
footballChelsea 1 Manchester City 1
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links