The Three Lions have begun training in preparation for the upcoming World Cup Qualifying matches against Malta and Slovakia. The squad includes many young players vying to impress and get game time during this weekend’s international break.
One young English player will not be receiving his first cap, however, after leaving training due to an injury. Everton’s Jordan Pickford reportedly sustained a thigh injury while playing with Everton which has continued to cause problems while training with the national team, according to SB Nation.
After reported discussions between England and Everton, it was decided that it would be best for Pickford to leave the training camp for treatment on his injury. Toffees fans will be hoping that this is not a major injury to their first choice shot-stopper. Everton’s record signing has enjoyed a strong start to his time at the Merseyside club.
According to Everton’s official website, Jordan Pickford is not listed under injured players. This may indicate that it is a minor injury and he may likely be ready to play when Everton play host to Tottenham on September 9th, after this weekend’s international break.
Meanwhile, Southgate will have to make due with three keepers: Hart, Butland and Heaton, in his updated 27-man squad. Stoke City’s Jack Butland may be the favorite to start against Malta. The 24 year-old has been extremely sound for The Potters after an incredible performance against Arsenal, keeping a clean sheet. He has only conceded two goals in the opening three matches.
Joe Hart and Tom Heaton have not experienced as good of form as their teammate. Hart has already conceded 10 goals for last place West Ham. While he is the most experienced, he is certainly not playing his best football of recent years. Heaton has done considerably better than Hart, only letting in four goals for Burnley.
Fans can watch England face Malta on Friday, September 1st at 7:45pm. Then, The Three Lions return from Malta to play Slovakia at Wembley on Monday, September 4th at 7:45pm.