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Injuries hit England Under-21 preparations for Slovenia friendly

Chelsea defenders Reece James and Trevoh Chalobah and Norwich midfielder Todd Cantwell have all withdrawn from England Under-21s’ squad on the eve of their friendly against Slovenia.

The Football Association stated the trio have been ruled out because of “injury”, with Reading defender Omar Richards drafted into the squad ahead of the trip to Maribor for Friday’s fixture.

James, Chalobah, who is on loan at Sky Bet Championship club Huddersfield this season, and Cantwell will also miss next Tuesday’s Euro 2021 qualifier against Austria at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.

James’ unspecified complaint extends his wait for a Young Lions cap while Chalobah, who made his Under-21s debut last month, has pulled out of the squad as a precaution.

Cantwell, who was handed his bow by Aidy Boothroyd off the bench against Kosovo last time out, has been sidelined by a hamstring issue.