Ben Gibson joins England squad following Chris Smalling injury
By Mark Crellin
Last Updated: 24/03/17 5:43pm
Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson has been called into the England squad ahead of Sunday's World Cup qualifier at Wembley against Lithuania.
The 24-year-old gets his first senior call-up following the injury to Smalling, who has returned to Manchester United for treatment on an unspecified knock.
Smalling's departure left manager Gareth Southgate short of options in defence, with Gary Cahill and Phil Jones also unavailable.
Cahill captained the side during Wednesday's 1-0 friendly loss to Germany but is suspended at the weekend, while Jones suffered a toe injury in a training ground challenge with Smalling earlier this week.
Southgate was not originally planning on sending for reinforcements but the injury to Smalling has convinced him to call up Gibson, who will take part in Saturday's training session at Tottenham's training base.
Gibson was a regular member of the England U21 side under Southgate and has regularly impressed for Boro in the top flight this season.
England's preparations for the Wembley encounter continued at The Grove on Friday, when Southgate's men were visited by England rugby coach Eddie Jones.
The Three Lions are currently top of World Cup qualifying group F, with three wins and a draw from four matches, and will be hot favourites to beat a Lithuania side with just one win from their first four qualifiers.