LONDON (AFP) - England manager Roy Hodgson suffered a double injury blow on Monday as the Football Association confirmed Liverpool duo Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana had withdrawn from his squad for the forthcoming matches against Lithuania and Italy.
Sturridge was forced to return to Liverpool after scans showed the striker would not be fit to feature in Friday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley and next week's friendly against Italy in Turin.
The 25-year-old was reported to have suffered a hip problem during Liverpool's 2-1 defeat by Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday. Having been ruled out for several months after suffering a thigh injury while training with England earlier this season, Hodgson and his medical team were understandably keen not to take any risks with the player's fitness.
Sturridge's absence could mean a first cap for in-form Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who took his goal tally for the English Premier League season to 29 with a hat-trick against Leicester on Saturday.
Kane is in the senior England squad for the first time and will be competing with Arsenal's Danny Welbeck for the job of partnering captain Wayne Rooney in Hodgson's forward line against Lithuania.
To add to Hodgson's misfortune, Liverpool midfielder Lallana also withdrew from the squad after suffering a groin injury against United that forced him to come off at half-time.
Lallana was replaced by Tottenham's emerging young midfielder Ryan Mason, who was called up for the first time. The 23-year-old, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season in central midfield for Tottenham, will also provide cover for Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph, who is suffering from a stomach bug.
Mason was loaned to third-tier club Swindon last season, but he has played 29 times for Tottenham under new boss Mauricio Pochettino this term. His last appearance in an England shirt came in 2011 when he played for the Under-20s against France.