With just three weeks until England's World Cup campaign begins, our reporter Rob Dorsett gives an update on Gareth Southgate's squad during a training session at St George's Park
Gareth Southgate is unlikely to call up any more defenders to train with the England squad following the withdrawal from the World Cup standby list of Burnley’s James Tarkowski, Sky Sports News understands.
Tarkowski left the Midlands training camp on Sunday afternoon as he needs surgery on a hernia problem, but Burnley are confident he will be fit in time to join them for pre-season training next month.
Southgate is yet to decide for certain but, with six other players in his squad of 23 who can operate at centre-back, he currently feels there is adequate cover.
His four recognised centre-backs can be added to with Kyle Walker and Eric Dier, both of whom have deputised in the position.
Should any more defenders develop knocks, at least before the FIFA deadline for the final squad of 23 to be submitted on June 4, Southgate will still have the flexibility to change his plans.
But with Liverpool’s Joe Gomez and Swansea’s Alfie Mawson out injured, and Chris Smalling out of favour with the England manager, only Jamaal Lascelles is a credible standby option and Southgate is not currently inclined to invite the Newcastle captain.
The whole England squad were given the day off on Friday, allowing them to leave St George’s Park and spend some time with their families before returning to duty on Saturday, where the squad and staff watched the Champions League final together.
Only the Liverpool duo of Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are still absent from the England group.
They will have the rest of this week off, before meeting up with the team during Saturday’s friendly with Nigeria at Wembley.
Both will then train on their own on Sunday, before joining their first full England training session on June 4 – eight days before England depart for Russia.