England manager Gareth Southgate was concerned by the non-contact element of Joe Gomez’s knee injury, which was confirmed as the player left the camp.
Following reports of an issue in training, the Football Association (FA) and Liverpool each announced Gomez had withdrawn from the England squad for the friendly with Republic of Ireland and the Nations League matches against Belgium and Iceland.
Gomez will undergo further diagnosis with Liverpool’s medical team, the Premier League champions suffering another blow to a defence already hit by injuries to Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
It is further pressure on a back line that has conceded 16 goals in eight Premier League games this season, an average of two per match, having shipped 0.87 per game in their triumphant 2019-20 campaign.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of the Ireland match, Southgate said of Gomez’s injury: “I can’t tell you how serious it is because he’s yet to have scans.
“What was upsetting was to see he was in a fair bit of pain. There was nobody around him when the injury happened and I didn’t like that element of it.
“We’ve got to wait and see what the scans show. We’re all hopeful for him that it’s not what it looks like it might be.”
It has been a tumultuous week for the FA, which has seen chairman Greg Clarke resign from his post.
Clarke stepped down after receiving heavy criticism for his use of the term “coloured footballers” in a meeting with a parliamentary committee on Tuesday.
Asked to weigh in on Clarke’s exit, Southgate replied: “The terminology he used in a number of areas was not acceptable.
“It doesn’t reflect the view of the FA and doesn’t reflect what we as a team stand for. I don’t think he had any alternative but to take the decision he did and resign.”
He added: “We had spoken positively about [diversity] the day before, so I felt it was necessary to explain that what happened yesterday wasn’t acceptable and didn’t represent what we stand for as a team.
“[The FA] is as diverse an organisation as I’ve ever been a part of, so internally there was a lot of upset about what had been said and I think Greg recognised that, alongside the other challenges what he said yesterday brought about, the internal upset was massive.
“There have been messages in society all summer about educating ourselves and I think a lot of us have done that over the last six months in particular.
“As an organisation, we have to make change. We can’t keep standing in front of the cameras talking about change.”