Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been ruled out England's Euro 2012 campaign with a groin injury.
The 22 year-old was widely expected to feature in Roy Hodgson's squad for this summer's tournament, after an impressive season at the reigning Premier League champions.
In a statement on the Manchester United website, it was confirmed that Smalling sustained the injury during their 2-0 win over Swansea last weekend, and will be absent for their potentially title-deciding clash with Sunderland.
During his Friday press conference, United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: “Chris Smalling got a bad injury last week.
"We tried to take him off, then Rio got a knock.
"He’s going to miss the European Championship. At the moment we're assessing what we'll do, but certainly it's a bad injury.
"I can play Phil Jones back in there with Rio, so Rio is okay."
Smalling has been one of United's most improved players since his estimated ￡8 million switch from Fulham in 2010, operating frequently as a right-back, rather than in his native position as centre half.
And while his injury may be a blow to Manchester United, it is likely to help new England manager Roy Hodgson in his squad selection for the European Championships.