Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that defender Chris Smalling will miss out on England’s Euro 2012 campaign with a groin injury.
The Manchester United manager revealed the injury was sustained in the 2-0 win over Swansea City at Old Trafford last weekend, but was not thought to be too serious at the time.
A second look showed the Red Devils’ defender had been injured much worse than first thought and will certainly end any hopes he may have had of being in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad going to Poland and Ukraine next month.
“Chris Smalling got a bad injury last week. We tried to take him off, then Rio got a knock,” Ferguson told his Friday press conference.
“He’s going to miss the European Championship. At the moment we're assessing what we'll do, but certainly it's a bad injury. I can play Phil Jones back in there with Rio, who is okay.”
It will be a cruel blow for the former Fulham man, as he had been having a good season and was something of a regular in the United side.
It means Ferguson now only has Jones and Ferdinand as natural centre-backs for the trip to Sunderland on Sunday, while the former has played the majority of his United games in midfield or at right-back.
United still have a chance of retaining their Premier League crown, but they must win at the Stadium of Light and hope Manchester City slip up against QPR at the Etihad Stadium.