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2018 WORLD CUP | ENGLAND

Jagielka to miss Malta and Slovenia qualifiers

The Everton centre-back became the latest England player to pull out of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers after suffering a thigh strain.

Jagielka to miss Malta and Slovenia qualifiers
Carl Recine REUTERS

New setback for Southgate

Phil Jagielka became the latest England player to pull out of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers after suffering a thigh strain injury.

Jagielka will miss the matches against Malta on Saturday and Slovenia on Tuesday as a result of the problem, which has forced him to return to Merseyside for treatment.

The 34-year-old's departure leaves England caretaker coach Gareth Southgate without yet another experienced player ahead of his first match in charge following Sam Allardyce's departure last week.

However, Jagielka is expected to be back to full fitness for Everton's Premier League trip to Manchester City next Saturday.

Substitutes being considered

The English FA announced Jagielka's injury on their Twitter account and said Southgate has no immediate plans to call up a replacement ahead of Saturday's qualifier at Wembley. Gary Cahill, Michael Keane, Chris Smalling and John Stones are the remaining centre-back options.

Cahill was unable to train at St George's Park on Friday due to a sore throat but the Chelsea star is expected to be fit to face Malta. Raheem Sterling and Glen Johnson had already withdrawn from Southgate's initial squad list because of injury, with Crystal Palace's Andros Townsend and Burnley's Michael Keane called up.