England replace injured Chris Smalling with Ben Gibson for World Cup qualifier against Lithuania

ALEX YOUNG
Uncapped | Ben Gibson has impressed in the Premier League this season in a struggling Middlesbrough side: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Uncapped Middlesbrough centre-back Ben Gibson has been called up to the England squad to face Lithuania, replacing the injured Chris Smalling.

The withdrawal of the Manchester United centre-back further worsened manager Gareth Southgate's defensive woes, with Phil Jones also unavailable and Gary Cahill suspended.

Gibson has impressed in his first season in the Premier League and was a regular for England's Under-21 side under Southgate's tutelage.

Southgate had not been planning to call up any reinforcements for Sunday despite the absence of Cahill and Jones, but Smalling's unspecified setback has forced his hand ahead of Sunday's World Cup qualifier.

"We'll just assess over the next 24 hours if we have picked up any other knocks," the England boss said following Wednesday's loss to Germany.

"I am not aware of anything significant at the moment so if that is the case we wouldn't."

Smalling has returned to Manchester to undergo treatment.

England trained in Hertfordshire on Friday and Gibson will take part in Saturday's session at Tottenham's training base, where Southgate will speak to the media.

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