Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been ruled out of Euro 2012 with a groin injury.
The problem was sustained during last week's Premier League game against Swansea City and is worse than first feared. Sir Alex Ferguson had said he has "a bit of a spasm in his groin" and would be fit for the crunch game with Sunderland on Sunday. Now it appears the injury requires surgery.
"Chris has suffered a bad injury," Ferguson said. "It is a groin muscle injury and he will miss the European Championships. We are assessing what to do at the moment but it is a bad injury."
Manchester United are also set to be without Jonny Evans, who is still to recover from an injury suffered in training. Evans was forced to pull out from a testimonial game for the former United player Harry Gregg, scheduled for Belfast next week.
Ferguson confirmed Phil Jones is set to replace Smalling for the game at the Stadium of Light.
Smalling's absence is likely to cause problems for Roy Hodgson, who currently has defensive dilemma over whether to take at-loggerheads duo John Terry and Rio Ferdinand to the tournament.