England defender Gary Cahill has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a double fracture of the jaw, the Football Association announced on Sunday.
The 26-year-old, who won the FA Cup and the Champions League with Chelsea last season, suffered the injury when he was shoved in the back by Belgium’s Dries Mertens during the first half of a 1-0 international friendly win at Wembley, London, on Saturday and, as a result, collided with England goalkeeper Joe Hart.
He was sent for X-rays and now has become the third player to drop out of England manager Roy Hodgson’s squad this week after midfielders Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard’s hopes of playing in Poland and Ukraine were dashed by injury.
Liverpool’s Martin Kelly was called up on Sunday as a replacement, with Hodgson having already omitted veteran Manchester United centerback Rio Ferdinand from his original squad.
An FA statement issued on Sunday said: “Gary Cahill has been withdrawn from England’s Euro 2012 squad following the injury he suffered in the match against Belgium.”
John Terry, Cahill’s Chelsea and England central defensive colleague, was passed fit, for now at least, on Sunday after suffering a hamstring problem against Belgium.
Hodgson immediately feared the worst regarding Cahill’s injury, saying after the match: “The referee gave him [Mertens] a yellow card, which he deserved.”
“Unfortunately for us, the consequences might be a lot more than a yellow card because a fracture is a distinct possibility,” he said.
Mertens took to Twitter on Sunday to express his regret.
“I sincerely apologize for the harm I’ve cost to Cahill. When in the heat of the moment, you often don’t think about the consequences. My thoughts go out to him and I hope he recovers well!” he wrote.
Saturday’s match was England’s last before they begin their Euro 2012 campaign against France in Donetsk on Monday next week — a game in which Cahill looked likely to start alongside Terry.