Tom Heaton returns home early after picking up a minor knock on international duty

Tom Heaton returns home early after picking up a minor knock on international duty

The England goalkeeper did not travel to Slovenia for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier.

Chris Lincoln

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton has been forced to withdraw from the England squad after picking up a calf injury in training. The 30 year old was Gareth Southgate's second choice between the sticks as Joe Hart continues to hold the number one spot despite a challenging run of form.

Heaton picked up a calf injury in training

Heaton would have been on the plane to Slovenia following his nation's 2-0 victory over Malta, though the England medical team decided it would be in the player's best interests to return home as Burnley continue their fight for survival in the Premier League.

The Manchester United Academy product has only played three minutes for his country and has been replaced by Sunderland's young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the squad, who is currently enjoying a breakthrough season for the Black Cats.

Heaton will hope to be fit for Burnley's weekend Premier League clash against Southampton, whilst Sean Dyche will be praying the rest of his international stars return to Lancashire without any injuries.

Ward and Gudmundsson will hope to bring their momentum back to Burnley

Left back Stephen Ward has enjoyed his international duty over the past few days as the defender helped Republic of Ireland to six points with victories over Georgia and Moldova. Teammate Sam Vokes will not have quite such fond memories of the Georgians, as his Wales side were held to a 1-1 draw, three days after Austria also prevented them from picking up three points.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson faired better with Iceland as the Euro 2016 heroes won both of their games against Finland and Turkey to top the group. His midfield colleague Steven Defour will hope for a similar outcome as he continues to play a part in Belgium's squad against Gibraltar on Monday evening, whilst Scott Arfield could represent Canada against Morocco the following night.