Rose in­jury leaves Chilwell set for first Eng­land start


DANNY Rose joined Alex Mc­Carthy in pulling out of the Eng­land squad through in­jury, mean­ing Ben Chilwell is in line to make his first se­nior start tonight’s Na­tions League clash with Croa­tia.

Three months af­ter fac­ing one an­other in the World Cup semi-fi­nals, the Three Lions travel to Rijeka be­fore head­ing on to an ar­guably even tougher as­sign­ment against Spain.

South­gate will be with­out Tot­ten­ham left-back Rose and Southamp­ton goal­keeper Mc­Carthy for those games af­ter with­draw­ing from the squad yes­ter­day due to the “mi­nor in­juries” they ar­rived with.

While Eng­land still have three oth­ers goal­keep­ers to choose from, it leaves Le­ices­ter’s Chilwell as the only left­back in the squad trav­el­ling to Croa­tia.

The 21-year-old got his first chance last month and came off the bench against Switzer­land af­ter be­ing called up as a re­place­ment for Manch­ester United’s Luke Shaw – the same player he re­placed in the squad on Sun­day.

Brighton’s Lewis Dunk has been the other late call-up fol­low­ing an in­jury to James Tarkowski of Burn­ley, but there does not ap­pear to be plans for fresh faces be­fore the Croa­tia game.

Danny Wel­beck, an­other who had sat out train­ing ear­lier in the week as a pre­cau­tion, was also miss­ing again as Eng­land trained at St Ge­orge’s Park yes­ter­day morn­ing.

But the Arse­nal for­ward was set to travel with the squad to Croa­tia in the af­ter­noon.

The other 22 mem­bers of South­gate’s group in­volved in the ses­sion.

To­day’s match will be played be­hind closed doors at Sta­dion HNK Rijeka as Croa­tia com­plete a sta­dium ban im­posed by UEFA for hav­ing a swastika on the pitch in a Euro 2016 qual­i­fier against Italy.

Eng­land then take on Spain three days later in Seville.

Jor­dan Pick­ford in­sists play­ing in an empty sta­dium

were against Croa­tia will give Eng­land the up­per hand.

Eng­land boss Gareth South­gate has shown his play­ers a video of Barcelona’s re­cent be­hind-closed-doors LaLiga game against Las Pal­mas to help their prepa­ra­tion, and Pick­ford be­lieves the vis­i­tors could gain the edge from the empty Sta­dion HNK Re­jika.

“It is go­ing to be very dif­fer­ent,” the Three Lions goal­keeper said. “I played in Croa­tia last year for Ever­ton (in the Europa League) and I know how hos­tile their fans are.

“They are great for their teams so I think it gives us the up­per hand go­ing away from home and when they need their fans, they haven’t got them.”

Pick­ford was one of many play­ers to star for Eng­land in the World Cup be­fore they suf­fered semi-fi­nal heart­break at the hands of Croa­tia.

The 24-year-old ad­mits there is a hint of a re­venge mis­sion about the up­com­ing re­match – even if he con­cedes Croa­tia can al­ways boast about win­ning that World Cup semi-fi­nal.

“It would be nice to get one over them.

“But they will al­ways have (the abil­ity to say) that they beat us in the semi-fi­nal,” he said.

“It is an­other sea­son, an­other cam­paign with Eng­land and we want to be beat­ing the top teams and they are ranked in the top 10 as well as Spain (who Eng­land play on Mon­day) and we want to be push­ing our­selves to beat these teams as part of our pro­gres­sion.

“As a team we have got to take our­selves to the next step and progress even more as a group of play­ers, as staff, and for Eng­land to go fur­ther. This is the start of some­thing new.”

Ben Chilwell, right, trains with Eng­land prior to the squad’s de­par­ture for Croa­tia

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