England adds pair of uncapped Premier Leaguers as injury replacements
West Ham United defender Aaron Cresswell and Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford were called into the England squad for matches against Scotland and Spain to replace a pair of players forced to withdraw due to injury.
Danny Drinkwater and Fraser Forster pulled out of the squad due to various injuries. It’s an especially brutal blow to Drinkwater, who is still waiting for his first competitive cap after he was a late cut to the Euro 2016 squad. Drinkwater was also at fault for the decisive goal in a 2-1 loss to West Brom on Sunday that broke Leicester City’s 20-match home Premier League unbeaten streak. The 26-year-old’s injury is unknown, as Leicester City included him in a list of squad players taking part in international duty just three hours before his withdrawal from the England squad was announced.
With Drinkwater absent, England manager Gareth Southgate took the liberty of dumping a midfielder and instead adding Cresswell as cover for Danny Rose, whose availability is still up in the air after appearing hampered by a knock late in the North London Derby on Sunday, although he stayed in for the full 90 minutes.
The 26-year-old West Ham defender does not have a cap previously and now has received his first England call-up. Cresswell only just returned from injury for the Hammers, having missed the first seven matches of the Premier League season with a knee problem. He was sent off for a pair of yellow cards in his return, but has come back from suspension to play the full 90 minutes in the club’s two most recent games. Cresswell was selected ahead of Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs, who has 10 caps but has played just an outside role in Arsenal’s setup this season.
Black Cats netminder Jordan Pickford will also get a shot at his first cap, having been called up to replace Southampton goalkeeper Forster. With Joe Hart’s position as the number one shakier than ever, Forster was thought to be a true combatant for the starting position, but will miss out on the upcoming matches due to an undisclosed injury that Southampton labeled “slight” in an official release.
Sunderland has been forced to fend off a number of top clubs interested in Pickford over the last few years, and after five separate loan spells, he has finally cemented himself as a Premier League starter. The 22-year-old Black Cats goalkeeper has been involved in the England setup before, but he was an unused substitute for a qualifier against Slovenia last month