Injuries leave England manager Gareth Southgate short of striking options

15 March 2017 03:38

Gareth Southgate is facing an attacking headache ahead of naming his first squad as permanent England manager.

Handed the reins on a full-time basis after an impressive four-match temporary stint, the 46-year-old next week takes charge as Sam Allardyce's full-time successor for the first time.

Wednesday's tough-looking friendly at world champions Germany kicks off the reign before Lithuania arrive at Wembley on Sunday, March 26 for a World Cup qualifier.

Press Association Sport understands the national team coaches met to discuss call-ups at St George's Park on Wednesday morning ahead of the following day's squad announcements.

The teams will be drip fed out until the senior squad is announced at 2pm, when the strikers selected will be particularly interesting given the way injuries have restricted Southgate's options.

Tottenham striker Harry Kane is facing around six weeks out with ankle ligament damage sustained in Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Millwall, while Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge has not played since February 4 due to illness and a hip complaint.

England captain Wayne Rooney is also a major doubt with a knee complaint that will keep the country's all-time top scorer out of United's Europa League last-16 second leg against Rostov.

"Rooney is injured," United boss Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday.

"He had some kick in his knee area, so he can't even come out to the pitch. He stays inside the medical department."

United team-mate Marcus Rashford and Leicester's Jamie Vardy remain available to Southgate, while West Ham's Andy Carroll is reportedly under consideration four-and-a-half years after winning the last of his nine caps.

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe, last capped in November 2013, and uncapped Burnley striker Andre Gray have been mentioned as potential options, while Arsenal's Danny Welbeck will be another if he has overcome illness.

Everton playmaker Ross Barkley's upturn in form means he is in line for a first call-up since Euro 2016, but Liverpool's Jordan Henderson, who has captained England in Rooney's absence, is out with a foot injury.

There is a question mark over Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain due to a slight hamstring problem, so too Jack Wilshere having lost his place in the Bournemouth starting line-up in recent matches.

Danny Rose's knee injury keeps the Tottenham left-back out, although Ryan Bertrand, Aaron Cresswell and Leighton Baines are alternatives. L uke Shaw is also available, despite only featuring twice for Manchester United since November 30, and remains eligible for England Under-21s.

Southampton duo Nathan Redmond, the Under-21s player of the year, and Young Lions captain James Ward-Prowse are pushing for first senior call-ups, but Southgate may be dissuaded with the Under-21 European Championship looming large.

Middlesbrough's Ben Gibson played for Southgate's Under-21s and is said to be on the manager's radar, while Phil Jones' displays in Manchester United's defence will not have gone unnoticed.

West Ham's Michail Antonio will be hoping to receive another England call-up having yet to make his international debut.

Source: PA