England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that James Maddison and Kyle Walker will miss Monday’s World Cup 2022 Group B opener with Iran.
Manchester City right-back Walker has only made seven Premier League appearances this season, having sustained a groin injury against Manchester United on October 2 which required surgery.
Walker did not feature in any of Man City’s subsequent six league games prior to the World Cup, but he has taken part in training with the Three Lions in Qatar.
Meanwhile, Maddison had to come off with a knee injury in Leicester City’s final pre-World Cup win over West Ham United, although the issue was not deemed a serious one.
However, the midfielder has been unable to take part in full training with England so far and was also absent from the group session on Sunday, less than 24 hours before Southgate’s men tackle Iran.
Southgate spoke with BBC Radio 5 Live following Saturday’s training session, during which he confirmed that Monday’s clash would come too soon for Walker or Maddison to be involved.
“Kyle Walker is a little bit short for this game but is progressing really well. We are ahead of where we thought he might be at this point,” the 52-year-old said.
Elaborating on Maddison’s condition, Southgate was a bit more downbeat, adding: “James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived so he will not be able to make the game tomorrow.”
With Walker sidelined, the likes of Kieran Trippier, Ben White and Trent Alexander-Arnold will battle to line up on the right-hand side for England’s opening fixture with Iran.
On the other hand, Maddison was never expected to start at the Khalifa International Stadium, with Mason Mount hoping to complete an expected attack of Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.