England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to miss 3 WC qualifiers

LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford will miss England’s three World Cup qualifying matches this month because of an abdominal injury, the Premier League club said Tuesday.

The 27-year-old Pickford, who helped the Three Lions reach the World Cup semifinals in 2018, was forced out just before halftime of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Burnley due to “an injury to his oblique abdominal muscle,” Everton said.

Pickford will miss England’s games against San Marino, Albania and Poland as the team begins its bid to reach the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He’ll also miss Everton’s FA Cup quarterfinal match against Manchester City on Saturday.

Everton confirmed that Pickford would remain under the care of the club’s medical staff during the upcoming international break.

It opens the door for Burnley’s Nick Pope to take over in goal for England and stake his claim for the spot on a permanent basis for the European Championship starting in June.

England’s qualifying campaign begins March 25 when it hosts San Marino.

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