Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been ruled out of England’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers through injury.
The Three Lions’ established number one was forced off just before half-time of Saturday’s surprise 2-1 loss to Burnley in the Premier League.
Pickford underwent a scan on Monday and Everton have now confirmed he will miss this month’s England triple header “after sustaining an injury to his oblique abdominal muscle”.
The 30-cap goalkeeper was a key part of the side that went onto reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 and will be absent as Gareth Southgate’s men kick off their qualification campaign for Qatar 2022.
Everton confirmed Pickford “will remain under the care of the club’s medical staff at USM Finch Farm during the forthcoming international break” rather than facing San Marino, Albania and Poland.
The 27-year-old, who was absent for a period last month due to a rib injury, will also miss the Toffees’ crunch FA Cup quarter-final with runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Saturday.
The inexperienced Joao Virginia could start, with summer signing Robin Olsen also sidelined by injury. He has not figured in a matchday squad since the 2-0 win over Liverpool on February 20.
Pickford’s injury also provides Southgate with a selection headache, with Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope and Manchester United’s Dean Henderson pushing to claim a starting role.