Manchester City defender Micah Richards has been forced to withdraw from the England Under-21 squad for this summer’s European Championship finals.
The powerful stopper has pulled out of manager Stuart Pearce’s party for the tournament in Denmark next month due to a hamstring injury.
Richards’ absence leaves Pearce with just 22 players at his disposal and the Young Lions boss will name a replacement shortly.
The 22-year-old was due to captain England and it means Pearce will have to appoint a new skipper.
Richards spent seven weeks on the sidelines earlier this season after initially suffering the hamstring problem on Under-21 duty against Denmark.