England have called up uncapped goalkeeper Alex McCarthy in place of his injured Southampton team-mate Fraser Forster ahead of Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia.
Forster had been expected to challenge Joe Hart for the number one jersey following the latter’s exile at Manchester City this season, but he has been sent home with an arm injury.
Hart, who left the camp to complete a season-long loan deal with Serie A side Torino this week, will now be firm favourite to retain the gloves for Sam Allardyce’s first match as Three Lions boss.
Burnley’s Tom Heaton was the third goalkeeper in his original squad, and has a single brief substitute appearance to his name, while 26-year-old McCarthy is on board as cover.
He did play three times for England Under-21s and received his first senior call-up for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil in 2013.
Since then he has largely played the role of understudy.
McCarthy’s last full season as first-choice was in 2013/14 at Reading and he has since played supporting roles at QPR and Crystal Palace.
He joined Saints in the summer, as deputy to Forster, and has yet to feature.