England have confirmed that Emile Heskey has withdrawn from tonight’s EURO 2004 qualifier against Macedonia.

The Liverpool striker pulled out due to an ongoing groin problem which was aggravated in training ahead of tonight’s clash in Southampton.

The FA’s director of communications, Paul Newman, confirmed: “Emile is unfit and will be going back to his club. Sven-Goran Eriksson thought it would be silly to risk him and so he is returning to Liverpool with the hope of being fit for his club.”

Leeds’ striker Alan Smith is expected to stand-in for Heskey.