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Everton striker Andy Johnson has withdrawn from the England squad for the forthcoming Euro 2008 qualifying matches against Macedonia and Croatia.

The 25-year-old striker is currently the Premiership’s top scorer with six goals. However, he limped off the pitch during Everton’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday.

“It’s a real blow because he’s made a massive impact already with Everton this season and I’ve been hugely impressed by him,” said England boss Steve McClaren.

“He’s got such a great attitude and is a constant threat to any defence. He was certainly knocking very hard on the door for a place in the team, so it’s a disappointment to lose him.”

Darren Bent has been promoted from the under-21 squad to the senior squad to cover for the loss of Johnson.

“We’re fortunate that we are able to call Darren up from the Under-21s,” said McClaren. “He’s already got experience of being involved in several senior squads and he’s a player with excellent ability and a real goal threat.”

England play Macedonia on Saturday, and Croatia on October 11, in Group E.

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