Declan Rice: West Ham midfielder withdraws from England squad through illness

England midfielder Declan Rice

Declan Rice has withdrawn from the England squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino through illness.

The in-form West Ham midfielder’s unavailability is a significant blow to Gareth Southgate as his side seek to book their place next year’s Qatar finals, having already seen Marcus Rashford pull out through illness earlier this week.

Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are also yet to join up with the rest of the England set-up. Shaw is following concussion protocols while Mount is recovering from dental surgery.

Despite the Rice’s withdrawal, there are currently no plans to replace the 22-year-old in the squad. Uncapped midfielder Emile Smith Rowe was promoted from the Under-21s to replace Rashford.

A statement from the Football Association read: “Declan Rice has withdrawn from the England squad.

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“Having been unable to train due to illness since reporting to St. George’s Park, the midfielder has returned to West Ham United and will play no part in the forthcoming Fifa World Cup qualifiers.

“No additions to the squad are planned at this moment in time. Mason Mount and Luke Shaw are still yet to link up with the group and continue to be assessed following dental surgery and concussion respectively.”

England require four points to secure their place in Qatar and host Albania in Group I at Wembley on Friday night, knowing that they will qualify with victory if second-place Poland drop points.

Yet with Poland facing minnows Andorra, qualification is likely to go down to the final game away to the lowest-ranked side in international football, San Marino, on Monday.

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