Hot-shot Poland striker Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of Wednesday’s World Cup qualifier with England due to a knee injury.
The 32-year-old is Poland’s captain and all-time record goalscorer, having struck 66 times in 118 caps.
Lewandowski had been highlighted by England boss Gareth Southgate as the dangerman ahead of the Group I clash at Wembley – but the Polish FA confirmed on Monday morning that the Bayern Munich striker will sit out the game.
“Robert Lewandowski will not play in Wednesday’s 2022 World Cup qualifying match against England in London due to an injury,” a statement on its website read.
“Clinical and imaging studies have shown damage to the collateral ligament of the right knee. The short time remaining until the next match of the national team excludes the participation of the national team captain in this match.
“This would carry too much risk of aggravating the injury. This decision is the only right one, bearing in mind the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament.
“Treatment of this type of injury usually lasts from five to 10 days. Therefore, Robert Lewandowski will return to the club, where he will undergo further rehabilitation.”
Lewandowski has already scored three goals from their opening two qualifying games for Qatar 2022 – netting a late equaliser in a 3-3 draw in Hungary and grabbing a brace in Sunday’s 3-0 home win over Andorra.
The eight-time Bundesliga winner has faced England twice in the past and has yet to score past the Three Lions, who sit top of the qualifying group after picking up maximum points from their first two games.
Wright questions Southgate
Meanwhile, Ian Wright has questioned the handling of Trent Alexander-Arnold’s England omission by head coach Gareth Southgate.
The Liverpool man was “harshly” left out of the current squad for the World Cup qualifying triple header. Southgate pointed to the full-back not playing “at the level that he found in the last couple of years”. Instead the Three Lions chief picked Reece James, Kyle Walker and Kieran Trippier as his right-back options and all three have had a taste of action in the wins over San Marino and Albania.
Southgate claimed the door was open for the 22-year-old, who was not under consideration for the Under-21 tournament. Southgate though also namechecked Matty Cash and Luke Ayling who were also rivalling Alexander-Arnold for a place in the squad.
For Wright though the decision to axe the Liverpool defender, who was PFA Young Player of the Year last season, left him confused.
“The level of competition, you can’t argue with Reece James and his emergence,” Wright told ITV Sport during England’s 2-0 win in Albania.
“I think James Justin before he got his injury, he’d have got into this squad for these three games. I’m a bit confused by Gareth and the harshness of this.
“He said it’s ‘because of form’ but we’ve seen players in England squads who haven’t been picked on form. With what Trent has gone through, the meteoric rise he went on. Now injuries have started to come, players not playing with him, midfielders not playing with him, it’s affected his game.
“Yes, there’s a dip in form but for him to be left out on form when I’ve seen players picked for England who have been on bad form, it seems a little harsh.