Chelsea defender John Terry has withdrawn from the England squad for Tuesday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley with a back injury.
Terry becomes the third player to withdraw from the game after Aaron Lennon and Phil Jagielka were forced out with back and hamstring injuries respectively.
“Terry was assessed by England medical staff on Sunday and will not be fit to play any part in Tuesday’s game,” said a Football Association statement.
For Terry, 29, the back problem is the return of an injury that he had an operation to cure in 2006.
Aston Villa’s Stewart Downing and Gary Cahill of Bolton have already been called up as replacements.
Terry’s absence means he will be unable to resume his longstanding international partnership with Rio Ferdinand. The Manchester United skipper, who missed the World Cup finals through injury, is set to return to the starting line-up for the first time since June and is expected to regain the captaincy from acting skipper Steven Gerrard.
Coach Fabio Capello is to announce his decision in a press conference after training at Wembley, with Ferdinand and Gerrard the only two candidates.
Gerrard filled in for all four of England’s matches in South Africa, August’s friendly against Hungary and their opening two Euro 2012 qualifiers, but Ferdinand has since regained fitness and form.
The absence of Terry and Jagielka means Capello will name a different central defensive pairing for the fifth consecutive game, with Ferdinand set to start alongside either Cahill or Manchester City’s Joleon Lescott.
Ferdinand has played only four times since returning from his knee injury, although Lescott performed admirably alongside Jagielka in last month’s victory over Switzerland in Basle.