England defender John Stones has been forced to withdraw from the England squad to face San Marino and Estonia after suffering suspected ankle ligament damage in the dying stages of Everton’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday.
Stones’ club manager, Roberto Martinez, confirmed the injury during his post-match press conference and said that “it will be at least a few weeks” until the 20-year-old recovers, which will almost definitely rule him out of the Toffees’ home clash against Aston Villa on October 18, as well as the Europa League trip to Lille five days later.
Stones made his international debut in England’s 3-0 win over Peru in May and has now won four caps for the Three Lions. He started at right-back in England’s 2-0 win over Switzerland in their opening Euro 2016 qualifying match last month.
He has been replaced in Roy Hodgson’s squad by 19-year old Calum Chambers, who has been promoted from the Under-21 squad. The Arsenal man has played seven times in the league this season and has already made his senior England debut.
Hodgson is also without injured defenders Kyle Walker, Glen Johnson, Jon Flanagan, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones for the qualifiers, the first of which takes place at Wembley on Thursday night.
England are favourites to win Group E at 1.21.