Andy Carroll has pulled out of England's opening FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine. The West Ham loan signing suffered a hamstring injury during an impressive debut in his side's 3-0 win over Fulham this afternoon.
Manager Sam Allardyce said after the game it was unlikely Carroll would be able to join up with the England squad. The FA have confirmed that this evening, although no decision will be made about replacements until after tomorrow's three Premier League games have been played.
"West Ham United forward Andy Carroll has withdrawn from the England squad to face Moldova and Ukraine," said the FA in a statement. "After picking up an injury in the match against Fulham, Carroll will not be part of the squad for England's opening FIFA World Cup qualifying matches next week.
"Any decision on whether to call additional players into the squad will not be made until after the three fixtures on Sunday have been completed."
Roy Hodgson's decision to wait until tomorrow before deciding upon replacements is a wise one given the potential for further withdrawals. However, it is clear England have a striking problem to overcome.
Main man Wayne Rooney had already been ruled out with a gashed thigh, whilst Ashley Young, who has done well in the 'No10' role in the past also misses the double-header with a knee injury. Presently, Danny Welbeck, Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge are the only three remaining strikers.
The obvious choice to replace them would be Aston Villa's Darren Bent, who many thought would have been included in Thursday's squad anyway. Bent has recovered from the ankle injury that wrecked his hopes of going to UEFA EURO 2012.
The 28-year-old opened his account for the season in Villa's Capital One Cup win against Tranmere last week and has scored four times in his last seven internationals.
Peter Crouch has also started the campaign in decent form, although as the 31-year-old has not featured for his country since November 2010, a recall would appear to be a long shot.