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England’s Smalling out of Lithuania qualifier

England defender Chris Smalling (L) and teammate Phil Jones take part in a training session at St George’s Park in Burton-on-Trent, central England on March 21, 2017 © AFP/File / Paul ELLIS

LONDON, United Kingdom, Mar 24Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is injured and will play no part in England’s World Cup qualifier with Lithuania on Sunday, the Football Association said on Friday.

In his place Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson got his first senior England call-up for the match at Wembley.

Smalling’s exit however compounds England manager Gareth Southgate’s defensive worries, with Chelsea’s Gary Cahill, the captain in Wednesday’s 1-0 friendly international defeat by Germany in Dortmund, suspended.

Phil Jones had already pulled out on the eve of the friendly with a toe injury he suffered in a training ground challenge with United team-mate Smalling.

Southgate knows the 24-year-old Gibson well, having repeatedly selected him when manager of the England Under-21 side.

England trained in Hertfordshire, northwest of London, on Friday and Gibson will join the squad in time for Saturday’s session at capital club Tottenham Hotspur’s training ground, where Southgate will hold a pre-match media conference.

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