The Newcastle midfielder Jermaine Jenas has pulled out of the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship qualifier in Macedonia.
The 20-year-old has been having problems with his wisdom teeth and will not now fly out for the game in Skopje on Friday. However, David Platt's medical team will assess Jenas when they return from Macedonia in the hope that he can return ahead of the game with Portugal at Goodison Park next Tuesday.
Jenas was given his under-21 debut in a friendly in Slovenia within days of his £5m move to Newcastle in February last year, and has since been capped at senior level. However, Platt, who gave him his first-team start during his time as the Nottingham Forest manager, sees him as a key member of his squad and took him to last summer's European Championship finals in Switzerland as a 19-year-old.
On the senior side, the Football Association are mounting their biggest and most "comprehensive" security operation for Saturday's Euro 2004 qualifier in Macedonia.
The FA, who announced two months ago that no tickets would be made available to England supporters for this game, or the trip to Turkey on 11 October, will not reveal the cost of the exercise which involves handing over their allocation of just over 2,000 to underprivileged children in Macedonia.
After fining the FA a record £70,000 following crowd trouble at Sunderland when England beat the Turks 2-1 in April, Uefa, the game's European governing body, warned that any repeat could result in a ban from international football. The FA revealed some details of their scheme ahead of the visit to Macedonia, where it is reported that two years after the end of civil war, bomb explosions still occur.
The FA's head of communications and marketing, Paul Barber, said: "I really despair over the motivation of people who want to go there ... We know that some will try to come in via the Greek holiday resorts and Sofia but anyone who does travel against our advice and gets into trouble in Macedonia must be aware of our right to ban them for life from receiving tickets in future.
"We will have spotters in the crowd on Saturday looking for known and unknown offenders and we are fully prepared to issue more banning notices if necessary," he added.
Ukraine went for experience when they named their squad for Saturday's qualifier against Northern Ireland on Monday. The coach, Leonid Buryak, named only two untested players for the match in Donetsk, Olexei Gai and Adrian Pukanich of Shakhtar Donetsk. The rest of the squad is based around the domestic league's top teams, Shakhtar and Dynamo Kiev.
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