England manager Roy Hodgson has been dealt a third injury blow ahead of his side's upcoming pre-Euro 2016 friendly double-header. Southampton left-back Ryan Bertrand has followed in the footsteps of Manchester City duo Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling by withdrawing from the squad in advance of testing matches against Germany and the Netherlands.
Bertrand, who made his senior international debut against Italy in 2012 and has since won seven caps in total, had looked set to battle with Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Danny Rose for a starting berth against the world champions in Berlin on 26 March. However, he was forced to miss training earlier this week in order to undergo an assessment by the England medical team after suffering a knock during an impressive 3-2 comeback victory over Liverpool.
That unspecified problem has now ruled him out of contention. In an official release, the Football Association (FA) said: "Ryan Bertrand has returned to his club this afternoon for further treatment.
"The Southampton defender picked up an injury in the match against Liverpool last weekend. He has since been assessed by the England medical team but will not be fit in time to face Germany. There will be no call-ups at this time. The England team depart St George's Park for Berlin tomorrow morning."
The decision not to draft in a replacement is likely to irk those who have been eager to promote the claims of Aaron Cresswell. The West Ham defender has impressed with the sheer consistency of his performances in the Premier League since arriving at Upton Park from Ipswich Town in July 2014, but the 26-year-old is yet to be recognised with a call-up from Hodgson.
England have also opted against replacing Sterling, despite fears that the Manchester City midfielder could be ruled out for at least six weeks with a groin complaint sustained following a challenge from Juan Mata during the recent derby defeat to Manchester United.
Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton was added to the squad after Hart pulled his calf muscle during that same match. Danny Welbeck is expected to be fit despite sitting out training earlier this week as part of an agreement with Arsenal. Assistant coach and Valencia manager Gary Neville was expected to join camp today (24 March) after staying behind to work with the La Liga strugglers following their third consecutive defeat to Celta Vigo.
Updated 22-man England squad for friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Fraser Forster (Southampton)
Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool)
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal)