Daniel Sturridge is in danger of missing Euro 2016, with teenage sensation Marcus Rashford ready to seize the opportunity to join England in France this summer.
Liverpool striker Sturridge has complained of a calf injury, making him a doubt for Friday’s friendly against Australia at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland.
If Sturridge is ruled out, Manchester United’s 18-year-old Rashford will almost certainly start in a 90-minute audition for a place in manager Roy Hodgson’s final 23-man party.
Injury-prone Sturridge, 26, had a scan on Tuesday but this latest setback will be a major concern for Hodgson in the build-up to England’s opening Euro 2016 group game against Russia on June 11 in Marseille.
Until this week Sturridge had gone four months without an injury – his longest spell since June 2014 – and managed to end the domestic season as Liverpool’s leading scorer with 13 goals, including a brilliant effort in last week’s 3-1 Europa League final loss to Sevilla.
Sturridge had a scan on Tuesday at Manchester City’s training ground, where England have been based this week.
The extent of the injury is unclear but the problem was serious enough for him to sit out Wednesday’s training session.