After sustaining a groin injury in Manchester United’s win over Swansea last week, Sir Alex Ferguson has today confirmed that Chris Smalling will miss this summer’s European championships.
Roy Hodgson is set to name his Euro 2012 provisional squad on Wednesday, and Smalling’s ability to operate at right-back as well as in central defence made him seem a probable selection.
His absence will likely pave the way for his United team-mate Phil Jones to step in though, as the 20-year-old aims to replicate his tremendous early season form.
Ferguson confirmed that Jones will replace Smalling when United travel to Sunderland this weekend, with the game representing the former Blackburn man’s last competitive action ahead of Hodgson’s squad naming.
He is 2/7 to make the cut, and his versatility would appear to make him a sure fire inclusion.
Jones can operate comfortably all across the defence, whilst also an effective performer in both defensive and marauding midfield roles, so could prove an ideal utility man for England.
Though his form has tailed off somewhat in the past few months, Jones performed well in the infancy of his international career, so should be confident of adding to his four caps this summer.
Elsewhere amongst potential candidates to make the squad for the Euros, United boss Ferguson has stated that Danny Welbeck should be fit to travel, if selected.
Welbeck has been ruled out of the Red Devils’ trip to the Stadium of Light this weekend with an ankle injury, though the knock is not serious enough to keep him sidelined throughout the summer.
The 21-year-old forward is a 1/3 shot to be selected by Hodgson, in the aftermath of a breakthrough season that has seen him become a first team regular at Old Trafford.