Middlesbrough center-back Ben Gibson has been called up to the England squad for the first time by Gareth Southgate.
Gibson, who was regular for the England Under-21s during Southgate's reign, has been drafted in with the Three Lions facing a defensive shortage. Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were forced to withdraw from the squad this week, while Gary Cahill – who is suspended for Sunday’s game against Lithuania – has also departed the camp. With the trio unavailable, Gibson will be in contention to make his senior debut for England when they take on Lithuania in a 2018 World Cup qualifier at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.
West Ham United forward Diafra Sakho took part in controlled training sessions with the Under-23s this week.
A long-term absentee, Sakho has been gradually increasing his rehab efforts in his bid to recovery from back surgery he underwent in December. According to Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke, Sakho is essentially at the start of his own personal pre-season training schedule but has worked well this week and could join the first-team soon. Should his recovery continue on it's current course, the 27-year-old could be back in contention by mid-to-late April.
West Ham United skipper Mark Noble missed last Saturday's 3-2 defeat by Leicester City but is expected to be fit for the club's match with Hull City on April 1st.
Noble suffered a knock that forced him to miss the match with Leicester but resumed training with the first-team this week and will be fit face Hull City, according to Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke. The news is a big boost for the Hammers with defensive midfielder Pedro Obiang, who underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday in London, ruled out for the remainder of the season. Without Obiang, manager Slaven Bilic will likely move Cheikhou Kouyate into a central midfield role alongside Noble for the rest of the season.
Angelo Ogbonna is progressing well after his knee surgery in late January and could potentially be back in action before the end of the term.
Back in January, manager Slaven Bilic said Ogbonna was expected to miss the rest of term after the center-back underwent knee surgery. However, in the club's most recent report from the treatment room, it was revealed that the Italian international could be back in action before the end of the season. "If his rehab remains on schedule, he will return to training with the first team in around four to five weeks," wrote Head of Medical and Sports Science Stijn Vandenbroucke. Should Ogbonna continue on pace with his recovery, there is an outside chance he could be match fit come May.
Winston Reid is expected to be out for five weeks due to a muscle injury he suffered during last Saturday's 3-2 defeat by Leicester City.
Reid was withdrawn from the New Zealand squad after suffering the injury at weekend, which will keep him sidelined through at least the end of April. Reid has been a vital cog at the heart of the West Ham defense this campaign, starting 26 of their 29 league matches. With the 28-year-old expected to miss significant time, James Collins is in line to slot into the starting XI. Collins has made 14 appearances for the Hammers this season.
Erik Lamela may have kicked his last ball for Tottenham as the Argentinian struggles to overcome a persistent and ongoing hip problem.
The 25-year-old play maker is said to be at loggerheads with the club over whether he requires surgery, a disagreement which has left Lamela in limbo as he enters the final year of his current deal. Tottenham, feel they have been more than accommodating over the past few months, allowing Lamela to return home to Argentina to spend time with his family, before granting him permission to be treated at his former club, Roma, by Italian physiotherapist Damiano Stefanini. But, Spurs are becoming increasingly frustrated at his lack of progress, and with only ten Premier League games remaining, Lamela is unlikely to feature again in 2016/17.
The Republic of Ireland squad received an unexpected boost in the wake of what Martin O’Neill described as his worst injury crisis in three years.
Already without the suspended Robbie Brady for the Group D qualifier against Wales, O’Neill’s squad has been decimated by injury after Wes Hoolahan, Harry Arter, Shane Duffy were confirmed absentees along with Newcastle trio Ciaran Clark, Rob Elliot and Daryl Murphy. However, after all but ruling James McCarthy out earlier this week, the Everton midfielder could make a surprise appearance at the Aviva Stadium. "He is improving very quickly," O’Neill said during Thursday afternoons press conference. "He's done some work. He's feeling much better so we'll assess it." Ireland currently top the group and another victory, against the unbeaten Welsh, would see them move seven-points ahead of their rivals at the midway point of this qualification campaign.
Xherdan Shaqiri denies his lifestyle and poor diet are at the root of his ongoing calf problems.
The Swiss international was quizzed ahead of his sides World Cup qualifier with Latvia on Saturday having missed the last seven games domestically, despite being passed fit twice [GW27 vs Middlesbrough and GW29 vs Chelsea]. On both occasions, Shaqiri was withdrawn prior to kick-off after complaining of muscular discomfort. In response to questions raised about his diet, Shaqiri said: "I am a professional enough to know what I have to do. Just because I work with Coca-Cola does not mean I drink cola every day. I know how to behave." Pierre Etienne Fournier [team physio] suggested scar tissue was the cause of his ongoing issues but national coach Vladimir Petkovic only served to add fuel to the fire by saying Shaqiri must be analysed to find a solution: "Every player is responsible for his fitness. No one is with him for 24 hours, so no one knows if he stretches at twelve o'clock at night, or is eating popcorn or mince."