LONDON, England – England striker Daniel Sturridge has been ruled out of his side's crucial World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday, the Football Association (FA) said Saturday.
Sturridge was sidelined for Friday's 4-0 win over Moldova at Wembley after aggravating a thigh injury in Liverpool's victory against Manchester United last weekend.
The 24-year-old returned to Liverpool for treatment after initially joining up with England and it had been hoped he would recover sufficiently to meet Roy Hodgson's squad in time for the trip to Kiev.
However, the FA confirmed that Sturridge, who has scored five goals in four appearances for Liverpool this season, will definitely miss the Group H clash.
“The FA can confirm that Daniel Sturridge will not return to the England squad ahead of the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday,” said the FA in a statement.
“Club England medical staff have been in constant contact with their counterparts at Liverpool football club since he returned there on Thursday, his injury has not progressed as had been hoped and it is now clear that Sturridge will not be fit for the match in Kiev on Tuesday evening.”
Sturridge's absence is a blow for Hodgson as England will also be without the suspended Danny Welbeck on Tuesday after the Manchester United forward accrued a harsh second yellow card of the qualification campaign against Moldova.
Welbeck, who scored twice in the Wembley victory, was controversially booked for kicking the ball away, even though his shot came within seconds of the referee's whistle.
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney, who suffered a head injury last week, and West Ham's Andy Carroll are both absent, leaving Southampton's Rickie Lambert, scorer of two goals in his two England appearances this season, and Tottenham's Jermain Defoe as the only recognised forwards in Hodgson's squad.
Manchester City's James Milner has been widely reported as the most likely replacement for Welbeck on the left-hand side of England's three-man attack, with Lambert set to continue in the central role and Theo Walcott on the right flank.
It has been confirmed there will be no replacement called up for Sturridge, with the FA adding: “No additions will be made to Roy Hodgson's squad of 23 players who travel to Ukraine on Sunday evening.”
England are currently top of Group H, ahead of Montenegro on goal difference having played a game less, and a victory over third-placed Ukraine, who trail Hodgson's men by one point, would be a major step towards qualifying for next year's World Cup in Brazil.– Sapa-AFP