Raheem Sterling is set to miss England’s first fixtures since the World Cup after the winger withdrew from the squad preparing to face Spain in the Nations League opener and a friendly against Switzerland with a back injury.
The Manchester City forward, who has started the season in fine form including the first in his club’s 2-1 win over Newcastle at the weekend, will remain at his club for treatment, with England manager Gareth Southgate not intent on calling up a replacement.
The other 22 players reported for duty at St George’s Park on Monday to begin preparations for the game against Spain at Wembley and the Switzerland friendly, which is three days later in Leicester.
Southgate will check on the fitness of other members of the squad over the next few days.
Sterling’s absence could result in Tottenham’s Dele Alli being asked to operate in a more advanced role in Saturday’s competitive fixture, with Adam Lallana also pushing to make his mark back in the set-up.