Gary Cahill will captain England on Friday against Estonia, with Wayne Rooney ruled out of the final two Euro 2016 qualifiers.
The captain has a minor ankle injury and boss Roy Hodgson said he would be “devastated” should the Manchester United striker exacerbate the problem during Friday’s clash at Wembley or Tuesday’s trip to Lithuania.
“It’s settling down very, very well,” Hodgson said of the injury at a press conference.
“But we don’t want to risk him tomorrow. He’s got lots of important Manchester United games ahead and I would be devastated if we pushed him out there and something happened to increase the problem with the ankle, so we’ve decided it’s better if he doesn’t play in this game.”
Hodgson also revealed Rooney would not make the trip to Lithuania, saying: “The important thing now is for Wayne to recover from this minor injury and to be fully fit the next time Manchester United play Saturday week.”
Chelsea defender Cahill will captain England in Rooney’s absence.
Hodgson added: “It’s disappointing for us, disappointing for Wayne of course, but maybe nice for Gary to have the chance to captain the team because he’s been vice captain for a long time.”
Rooney’s fellow striker Danny Ings has also been struggling with an ankle injury. Hodgson said it had responded well to treatment, but the Liverpool man is still set to miss the Estonia clash, although he could be fit for Monday’s game.
Jonjo Shelvey is also a doubt for the Estonia match, but could be fit to face Lithuania, while Hodgson said Michael Carrick, who sat out training on Thursday, was rested to give him the best chance of being fit to play at Wembley.