Hart and Sturridge ruled out

England pair withdraw from Italy friendly due to injury

Joe Hart: Back injury has forced the Manchester City goalkeeper out of the squad

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Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart and Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge have both been ruled out England's friendly against Italy on Wednesday due to injury.

Hart's withdrawal from the encounter in Berne with back problem means Birmingham's Jack Butland has inched closer to making a remarkable senior international debut.

Sturridge has a toe problem after playing as a substitute in Sunday's Community Shield in which a Hart-less City defeated Chelsea 3-2.

However, England manager Roy Hodgson has taken the unusual decision not to call-up any replacements for Hart and Sturridge.

That means Team GB goalkeeper Butland and Norwich's John Ruddy are the only two shot-stoppers left in his squad.

Neither man has ever won a senior cap, so at least one will make their debut against the Euro 2012 runners-up.


For Ruddy, it would be a fitting end to a summer that started with him being forced to pull out of the tournament after breaking a finger on his first day of training.

However, when Ruddy pulled out, Butland was called up, even though the 19-year-old's only previous experience at senior level was in League Two for Cheltenham last season.

Although Butland did not make an appearance in Poland and Ukraine, he made a big impression on the England coaching staff.

He was also allowed to play for Great Britain during their Olympic campaign.

Butland again did well in front of massive crowds at Old Trafford, Wembley and the Millennium Stadium.

It was initially suggested Butland would only meet up this week to further his experience and would be released back to Birmingham ahead of their Capital One Cup clash with Barnet at St Andrews on Tuesday.

Instead, Butland will now travel to Switzerland knowing he could end up adding a full international cap to his four Olympic appearances without playing a game higher than the fourth tier of the English game.