Declan Rice pulls out of England squad with flu

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
The news is a real blow to England
The news is a real blow to England / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Declan Rice has pulled out of the England squad with flu, meaning he will miss his side's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Rice has been a regular in the Three Lions starting XI for some time and he has made a terrific start to the Premier League season with West Ham.

The 22-year-old has been wearing the captain's armband in Mark Noble's absence and he has already scored three goals and registered as many assists in all competitions.

Unfortunately for Gareth Southgate, he will have to fare without his star midfielder with his withdrawal being confirmed 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," England confirmed. 

"No additions to the squad are planned at this moment in time."

In Rice's absence, Jude Bellingham - who has been excellent for Borussia Dortmund of late - or Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson will likely partner Kalvin Phillips in midfield against Albania on Friday night.

In addition to Rice missing out, Luke Shaw and Mason Mount are also doubtful. Shaw is still being monitored after suffering a concussion in Saturday's Manchester derby, while Mount is yet to link up with the squad following his dental surgery.

In addition, Marcus Rashford had already pulled out of the selection to focus on returning to full fitness at Man Utd. He was replaced by Emile Smith Rowe, who was rewarded for his fine start to campaign with Arsenal with a maiden call-up to the national side.

Although Rice's absence is a blow for his country, West Ham will be glad that he will be able to rest up as they have some important games coming up after the international break.

An away game against Wolves in the Premier League is followed by a trip to Vienna to take on Rapid Wien. League meetings with Man City, Brighton and Chelsea come after that.

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