Baines, Milner, Sterling, Welbeck miss England friendly in Italy
England, 12/1 chances with Coral to win Euro 2016, will only have 17 outfield players available for their prestige friendly away to Italy in Turin on Tuesday, March 31st, after four squad members withdrew injured following the 4-0 qualifying win over Lithuania.
Forward pair Raheem Sterling (toe) and Danny Welbeck (knee) both started and scored in that victory, but have been joined in pulling out of the party to face the Azzurri by left back Leighton Baines and versatile midfielder James Milner.
Three Lions national boss Roy Hodgson has called up Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand, who will compete with Arsenal counterpart Kieran Gibbs to replace Baines on that flank of defence.
Earlier injuries to Luke Shaw (Manchester United) and Danny Rose (Tottenham) mean England have had five different left backs on their roster during this current international break.
Losing both Sterling and Welbeck from the squad leaves just three forwards available to Hodgson; national captain Wayne Rooney, recent debutant Harry Kane and Theo Walcott, fit again after returning from a long-term knee injury.
As attacking and wide options are so limited, reverting to a midfield diamond, with Ross Barkley and Kane replacing Sterling and Welbeck, has already been mooted by some pundits.
Should this tactical switch occur, Spurs midfielder Ryan Mason may have an increased chance of following White Hart Lane teammate Kane in making his senior international bow.
Italy have named an experimental squad for the friendly, but play Bulgaria away in a Euro 2016 qualifier first. They are missing experienced midfield quartet Andrea Pirlo, Riccardo Montolivo, Claudio Marchisio, and Daniele De Rossi.
Azzurri boss Antonio Cone continues to name foreign born players on his rosters, this time including engine room pair Franco Vazquez (Palermo, Argentina) and Roberto Soriano (Germany), plus the latter’s Sampdoria teammate and striker Eder (Brazil).
Revised England squad to face Italy
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Rob Green (QPR), Jack Butland (Stoke City)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand and Nathaniel Clyne (both Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones and Chris Smalling (both Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Man Utd), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Ryan Mason (Spurs)
Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Harry Kane and Andros Townsend (both Spurs).