Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood has withdrawn from the England squad for Euro 2020 due to a pre-existing injury.
Greenwood, 19, was named in Gareth Southgate’s 33-man preliminary squad and seemed likely to keep his spot as the Three Lions boss prepared to trim his selections to 26 players on Tuesday.
The Red Devils academy graduate ended the season brilliantly with six goals in his last eight Premier League appearances.
News he will not be available comes as a major blow for Southgate, who now faces a decision over how to replace the versatile and clinical forward with under two weeks to go until the tournament starts.
A statement on United’s website reads: “Manchester United striker Mason Greenwood has withdrawn from the provisional England Euro 2020 squad, in order to recover fully from an underlying injury that also kept him out of the Under-21 European Championship in March.
“Mason’s club appearances were managed carefully to maintain his availability through the intensive 2020/21 Premier League and Europa League schedules.
“But a further spell of tournament football would not be beneficial and Mason will remain at Manchester United to recuperate and prepare for pre-season training.
A statement from England adds: “Manchester United have confirmed that Mason Greenwood has withdrawn from the provisional #ThreeLions squad due to an underlying injury.
Greenwood had played 100 minutes of United’s Europa League final defeat to Villarreal last week.
However, United insist he has been managing a problem for some time.
Greenwood has just one senior Three Lions cap to his name, having made his debut in a Nations League win in Iceland last September.
After the game, both he and fellow debutant Phil Foden were sent home early after it emerged they had breached Covid protocols.
His fine recent form had earned a return to the senior set-up however, but he will now miss out on the finals.
Southgate selected a 33-man provisional squad last week and must finalise his 26-man list ahead of the finals.
Greenwood’s unavailability takes the number to 32, with uncapped trio Ben Godfrey, Ben White and Aaron Ramsdale also set to drop out.
That leaves the England boss looking at three more players to cut.
It is expected that both Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire will be selected, despite the pair’s respective recent injury issues.
Ex-England midfielder Paul Ince insists it is crucial for the Three Lions to have Henderson available.
“It will be intriguing to see which way Gareth goes regarding the holding midfield players. Jordan Henderson’s not played for three months but he’s so important,” he told Paddy Power. “You look for leaders on the pitch and he’s one.
“We’ve seen what he’s done at Liverpool, winning the title and the Champions League, we’ve seen the way he drives his players on. Not having him for three months was a blow, and you have to wonder how fit he’s going to be.
“So does Gareth go with one holding midfield player and two in front? He could look at Grealish, or Jesse Lingard, or James Ward-Prowse, who’s been outstanding this season.
“Jude Bellingham’s had experience over in Germany with Dortmund and maybe he’s a bit too young – but he’s [Bellingham] played in big games so it wouldn’t faze him if he got thrown in.
“It’s great to have all these options. We’ve seen what Grealish can do, he’s a wonderful player, and Mount’s been outstanding all season, as has Foden.
“But having a defensive block behind those flair players is crucial – that’s why it’s so important that Henderson is fit and ready to start.”