England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that defender Kyle Walker and midfielder James Maddison will both miss the team’s opening World Cup match against Iran.
Walker came into the tournament as an injury doubt, despite having made a remarkable recovery from a groin injury suffered during the Manchester derby against Manchester United in October.
Initially it was thought that Walker might miss the World Cup but his swift recuperation allowed him to be included in the 26-man squad.
James Maddison of England poses during the official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 portrait session on November 16, 2022 in Doha, Qatar
Image credit: Getty Images
Walker had said in the past few days that he expected to miss the Iran game, but believed he would be ready to go after that.
Maddison limped off for Leicester City during the final match before the break for the World Cup, and has since missed three training sessions in a row – and will also miss the Iran match.
“Kyle Walker is a little bit short for this game but is progressing really well. We are ahead of where we thought he might be at this point,” Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“James hasn’t been able to train since we arrived so he will not be able to make the game tomorrow.”