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England v Malta: Phil Jagielka pulls out of squad with injury

Phil Jagielka playing for England

Phil Jagielka has been capped 39 times by England, with his last appearance coming in March

Defender Phil Jagielka has pulled out of England’s squad to face Malta and Slovenia because of a thigh injury.

England host Malta on Saturday (17:00 BST) and visit Slovenia on Tuesday (19:45 BST) in World Cup qualifiers.

The Everton veteran’s withdrawal from Gareth Southgate’s first squad as interim boss increases the chances of a debut for Burnley’s Michael Keane.

Keane, 23, was added to the squad after Glen Johnson also withdrew through injury.

Southgate called up winger Andros Townsend on Monday as a replacement for the injured Raheem Sterling.

But he has no immediate plans to call up a replacement for Jagielka.

Chelsea defender Gary Cahill missed training at England’s St George’s Park base on Friday with a sort throat but is expected to be fit to face Malta.

The injury to Jagielka is not thought to be serious with Everton’s captain expected to be fit for the his side’s trip to Premier League leaders Manchester City next Saturday.

England are behind Group F leaders Scotland on goal difference following a 1-0 win in Slovakia last month under former boss Sam Allardyce, who lost his job after just 67 days in charge.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino, on loan from Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley)

Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Michael Keane (Burnley), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Andros Townsend (Crystal Palace)

Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/37585214