LONDON – Kieran Gibbs has pulled out of the England Under-21 squad for this month's European Championship due to an ankle injury.
The Arsenal defender was due to travel to Denmark but he aggravated the injury while playing in Sunday's 2-0 victory over Norway at Southampton.
England cannot replace Gibbs so Stuart Pearce will have only 22 players to choose from at the tournament, which starts on June 11.
The injury is so serious that the FA do not expect the defender to play any part in the tournament, which runs up until June 25.
The 21-year-old, who was vying for the left-back spot with Chelsea's Ryan Bertrand, will now stay in England with the injured ankle in a protective boot.
Pearce is confident his side will be able to cope without the Gunners defender.
"We have to deal with setbacks every now and again, but we are fortunate to have a squad and a staff with previous tournament experience,'' Pearce said.
"It's unfortunate for Kieran, but he went for a scan yesterday and is in a medical boot.''
Gibbs, who has played 15 times for the Under-21 team, is the fourth full international to be ruled out from Pearce's original 40-man squad.
Andy Carroll failed to recover from injury in time to make the final 23, Jack Wilshere's fears of burnout ruled him out of the championship and Micah Richards is missing thanks to a hamstring problem.
England take on Spain in their first group-stage game on Sunday before playing Ukraine and the Czech Republic the following week.