England have been dealt a blow ahead of their Euro 2016 qualifier against Switzerland after Daniel Sturridge was ruled out with a thigh injury.
The Liverpool striker was one of the few players to impress in England’s otherwise poor 1-0 win over Norway on Wednesday night.
But Sturridge will not be available for Monday’s qualifier against the Swiss because of a thigh injury he suffered in training.
A Football Association spokesman said: “Daniel Sturridge picked up an injury on his thigh in training.
“He has had a scan and will now return to Liverpool FC for treatment. He will play no part in the forthcoming Switzerland match.”
The FA also confirmed no replacement would be called up for Sturridge, who started the Norway game up front alongside captain Wayne Rooney.
England will travel to Switzerland tomorrow morning with just 19 players, two of whom are goalkeepers.
If England manage to avoid any further injuries, six outfield players will be on the bench at St Jakob-Park.
Recent Arsenal recruit Danny Welbeck looks likely to replace Sturridge in the starting XI.
Welbeck was also one of the few players to come out of the win over Norway with his reputation enhanced.
The 23-year-old substitute injected pace, invention and verve into what was, at the time, a dull performance from Roy Hodgson’s side, who won the match thanks to Rooney’s penalty.
With Olivier Giroud out for three months because of an ankle injury, Welbeck is likely to slot straight into the Arsenal starting XI following his move from United.
Jack Wilshere backed his new Arsenal team-mate Welbeck to have a successful season for club and country.
‘’He is a great addition for Arsenal and hopefully he will keep performing for England as well,’’ the Gunners and England midfielder said.
‘’He has got great enthusiasm, he wants to run, he will track back, and he has got great quality.
‘’A lot of people don’t give him credit for his technical ability, but he is great on the ball. I am sure there were a few clubs wanting him and there are not many players his age who move from one big club to another big club so that shows his quality.’’
Just 40,181 people turned up to watch the victory against Norway, but Wilshere thinks England can start to win the fans back by beating the Swiss in Basle on Monday night.
‘’Going over to Switzerland is a tough game but we know if we put in the performance and get the result the fans are going to come back on our side,’’ said Wilshere, who thinks the negative reaction to England’s winless World Cup campaign has been over the top.
‘’If people analysed it a bit more they would have been a bit kinder; there were just a few individual errors and a few lapses in concentration – but at that level that is what you are going to get.
‘’When you are playing against (Mario) Balotelli and (Luis) Suarez that is what you are going to get, they are going to punish you and they did.
‘’But if you look at the games, we had more positives than people give us credit for.’’
Wilshere only started one game at the World Cup – the lifeless, miserable dead rubber against Costa Rica in Belo Horizonte.
But with Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard now retired, he is one of the first names on the team sheet.
Many pundits, including former internationals like Paul Scholes and Jamie Redknapp, have cast doubt on Wilshere’s ability recently, claiming he has not lived up to the hype that surrounded him when he made his England debut four years ago.
Injury has hindered the 21-cap midfielder, but he says he is now almost back to peak fitness.
He said: ‘’It is a big season for me. I have never hidden away from that.
“I have had a good pre-season for the first time in a few years, I have trained every session, played in all but one of the games. ’I feel good, I am getting stronger and stronger, I am getting near to where I want to be.’’
Wilshere knows he and Jordan Henderson, who wore the No 4 shirt vacated by Gerrard on Wednesday, have big shoes to fill.
He added: ‘’Obviously it’s disappointing when Steven and Frank retired, they were massive players for England, over the last 10 years they were great ambassadors and that is the level we have got to get to.”
Centre-back Gary Cahill knows it will take some time to win back the supporters who have shunned England in the wake of their disappointing World Cup campaign.
He thinks it is way too easy to write off the England team, but he acknowledges there will be no dramatic transformation.
Beating Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifier would be a good start, though.
“If we win it would go towards (getting the fans back on side), but I think it’s not going to happen overnight,” the England and Chelsea defender said.
“Everyone should know and not expect that.
“Everyone needs to be patient with the young players that have come in and don’t have the experience of players like Wayne Rooney.”
With 15 senior players missing through injury, Hodgson has had to call upon previously uncapped players like Calum Chambers and Fabian Delph for the two matches.
Former Leeds United academy player Danny Rose is another uncapped player in the squad while John Stones looks set to make his first competitive start on Monday in Basle.
Cahill, who had to wait until he was 25 before he achieved such a landmark, thinks the new crop of players will need time to bed in.