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Sterling pulls out of England squad with back injury

England v Croatia: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 11: Raheem Sterling of England runs with the ball during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between England and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

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England will be without winger Raheem Sterling as they take on Spain and Switzerland this weekend after the 23-year-old pulled out of international duty with a back injury.

Sterling has been a permanent fixture in the England squad since the 2014 World Cup, but has had this issue before. Sterling missed friendlies against Germany and Brazil last November with a back problem.

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The news is particularly frightening for Manchester City, who is already without Kevin de Bruyne for an extended period of time, and have a few other injuries piling up. There is no word on how serious the injury is, or when it happened.

Sterling has been an important part of Gareth Southgate’s England setup, but also has scored just four goals in 44 international appearances and has not hit the back of the net since October of 2015.

England will not replace Sterling in the squad, meaning players like Dele Alli will be in a more attacking role, while Adam Lallana could make his first start for England since June of last year. Still, they suddenly have a lack of wide players in the bunch. Without Sterling, Southgate has 22 players in his squad.

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