Burnley midfielder Jack Cork has been handed his first England call-up as Gareth Southgate’s injury problems intensified on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old has been drafted into a depleted squad by Southgate for the upcoming friendlies against Germany and Brazil. He didn’t even make our top ten English players of the season.
The England manager has turned to the former Swansea and Southampton man after Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Jordan Henderson became the latest withdrawals from his group.
“I’m really, really happy. I haven’t really got the words for it. I’m looking forward to going to meet up,” Cork, who won 13 England Under-21 caps, said on Burnley’s website.
“We’ve had a good start to the season and you’re probably not going to get many better opportunities to be in the England squad, because we are doing so well.
“Four or five of the lads in the squad probably could have got in at the same time as me, so I feel lucky that I’ve been given the chance and, hopefully, if we can keep this form up then maybe one or two others can get in as well.”
Cork has made 13 appearances in all competitions for Burnley this season after making the move to Turf Moor from Swansea in the summer.
Southgate had already seen the likes of Tottenham trio Dele Alli, Harry Kane and Harry Winks forced out of the initial 25-man squad, so brought in Michael Keane and Jake Livermore as cover.
England, though, received three further setbacks on Tuesday.
Henderson had been due to arrive at St George’s Park later in the week after missing Liverpool’s win against West Ham with a thigh problem.
City winger Sterling is out with a back complaint and Delph – looking for his first England cap since November 2015 – injured his calf towards the end of Sunday’s win against Arsenal.
The only boost on the injury front ahead of the back-to-back Wembley friendlies has come in the shape of Chelsea defender Gary Cahill.
The 31-year-old was assessed by his club’s medical team after Sunday’s 1-0 defeat of Manchester United and was able to take his place for training on Tuesday afternoon.
All the enforced changes are hardly the ideal scenario to be facing two of the world’s best sides – especially as England already approached this international break without several key players.
Adam Lallana – England’s reigning player of the year – continues to be sidelined, and is joined by the likes of Danny Welbeck, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Heaton and Ross Barkley.
Southgate had plumped for a bold squad for the last matches of 2017, with Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Joe Gomez called up for the first time as Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Chris Smalling were overlooked.
Bournemouth forward Jermain Defoe, Aaron Cresswell, Fraser Forster and Livermore were others from the previous squad not to be involved in the initial 25-man group.