Jesse Lingard has withdrawn from the England squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo.
In a very brief statement on Saturday afternoon, the English Football Association (FA) announced Lingard had returned to Manchester United “through illness”.
The 26-year-old came down with an illness earlier this week, and was missing from training as a result. Although head coach Gareth Southgate had hoped he would pull through for the Three Lions.
It turns out, though, that wasn’t the case with Lingard out for this evening’s showdown with Bulgaria at Wembley.
And, with Kosovo coming up three days later, Southgate obviously felt there was no point in the 26-year-old hanging around any longer. So, the player has packed his bags and left the England squad at possibly the very worst moment.
The latest one to criticise Southgate, in fact, was former Arsenal striker Perry Groves, who suggested Lingard might benefit from favouritism.
“Jesse Lingard should be nowhere near that England squad, nowhere near,” he told talkSPORT.
“He must have bruises all over his body where he’s pinching himself regularly, because he shouldn’t be in the squad.
“Managers always have their favourites.
“Jesse Lingard hasn’t scored or made an assist [in the Premier League] since December for Manchester United.”
Lingard’s United team-mate Aaron Wan-Bissaka, meanwhile, has also withdrawn from the England squad.
The Three Lions’ Euro 2020 qualifier with Bulgaria will start at 18:00 (CET).