England calls up uncapped Gibson for Lithuania qualifier

England's Chris Smalling, left, and Germany's Julian Brandt challenge for the ball during the friendly soccer match between Germany and England in Dortmund, Germany, Wednesday, March 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

LONDON — England manager Gareth Southgate has a defensive headache to solve after Chris Smalling dropped out of his squad for the 2018 World Cup qualifier against Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.

Manchester United's Smalling has an unspecified injury, and has been replaced by uncapped Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson.

England is already without the suspended Gary Cahill, who captained the side in Wednesday's 1-0 friendly defeat by Germany, and Phil Jones withdrew with a toe injury before the Dortmund match.

As options at centre-back, Southgate has just John Stones and Michael Keane, who made his international debut against Germany.

England tops Europe Group F after four matches, two points ahead of Slovenia.

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