Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford faces a month on the sidelines after straining his thigh in Saturday’s Merseyside derby.
The injury means Pickford will miss the Toffees’ Premier League games against Arsenal and West Ham, as well as England’s Nations League matches against Italy and Germany later this month.
A scan has revealed the damage isn’t serious, but it is expected to nevertheless keep Pickford out of action for at least four weeks.
That leaves Asmir Begovic as Everton’s only fit keeper, with Andy Lonergan missing with a knee problem.
Everton haven’t ruled out looking for a free agent to offer additional goalkeeping cover.
The Everton and England games Pickford will miss
September 11: Arsenal vs Everton
September 18: Everton vs West Ham
September 23: Italy vs England
September 26: England vs Germany
Sky Sports football journalist Joe Shread:
“The decision over who starts in goal for England at the World Cup is less a cause for concern and more a topic of debate for Southgate. Pickford has had an iron grip on the No 1 shirt since the 2018 World Cup – so much so that Aaron Ramsdale, Nick Pope and Dean Henderson have just 12 caps between them compared to the Everton ‘keeper’s 45.
“Southgate has stuck by Pickford even when successive Toffees managers have been forced to publicly answer questions over his form.
“In fairness to Pickford, Frank Lampard’s appointment as Everton manager appears to have led to an upturn in his performances. But the fact remains that he has recorded fewer clean sheets and conceded more goals than both Ramsdale and Pope since the start of last season.
“With that in mind, perhaps England’s goalkeeper situation can be looked at in one of two ways. It can be said that the Three Lions have an established No 1 in Pickford who has regained his mojo ahead of the World Cup – before his injury – and is ably backed up by Ramsdale, Pope and Henderson; or it can be argued that the impressive performances of the Everton stopper’s deputies are creating doubt at the position at just the wrong time for England.
“For what it’s worth, Southgate is likely to take the former, more positive, view.”