England boosted as Russia hit by injury blow to key man

Rob Conlon
Igor Denisov: Midfielder ruled out of whole tournament

Russia have called up Artur Yusupov as a replacement for Igor Denisov after the midfielder was ruled out of Euro 2016 through injury.

Denisov, 32, was set to play a key role for Leonid Slutsky’s side in France, but sustained a thigh injury during Sunday’s 1-1 friendly draw against Serbia.

Denisov has now been replaced by Zenit midfielder Yusupov as teams are allowed to replace players before the tournament if the UEFA Medical Committee and team doctor confirm injury or illness would prevent a player taking part.

“I was planning to fly back to Moscow (on Monday),” replacement Yusupov told UEFA.com. “I didn’t even have my football boots with me and none of my kit. I had to borrow from Roman Neustadter.

“I was staying in Monaco, in the same hotel as the national side. It just happened like that.

“After being on holiday for 14 days, of course it is difficult to get down to work. I don’t really know myself what state I will be in.”

Denisov’s withdrawal is the latest injury blow for Russia having last month lost Alan Dzagoev to a broken metatarsal.

Russia face England at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille in the Group B opener on Saturday.