Rice withdraws from England squad due to illness

Declan Rice has withdrawn from the England squad due to illness, the Football Association confirmed on Wednesday evening.

The West Ham midfielder is the latest member of Gareth Southgate’s squad to pull out of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse and Marcus Rashford of Manchester United had already returned to their clubs.

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“Declan Rice has withdrawn from the England squad,” the FA said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

“Having been unable to train due to illness since reporting to St. George’s Park, the midfielder has returned to West Ham United and will play no part in the forthcoming FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

“No additions to the squad are planned at this moment in time. Mason Mount and Luke Shaw are still yet to link up with the group and continue to be assessed following dental surgery and concussion respectively.”

Rice has enjoyed a fine start to the season with the Hammers, who sit third in the Premier League having beaten Liverpool last weekend.

Southgate may have lost three players but so far only Arsenal attacking midfielder Emile Smith Rowe has been added as a replacement, being promoted from the under-21 squad for his first senior call-up.

Meanwhile, Smith Rowe has opened up on his “surreal” England call-up, saying it is “probably the biggest achievement” of his career.

“It’s a bit surreal to be honest,” Smith Rowe told EnglandFootball.com. “It’s crazy just being around the place and with all the players. I am so happy to be here and I am just going to enjoy it as much as I can.”

He added: “This is probably the biggest achievement I have had in my career so far.

“It is just different. Coming to St. George’s, being on a different training pitch…it is crazy. I am a bit speechless to be honest. I don’t know what to say about it all yet because it still hasn’t really sunk in yet that I am actually here.”

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