Raheem Sterling has been omitted from selection for England’s last-16 tie with Senegal as he deals with a family matter.
England confirmed the 27-year-old would play no part in Sunday’s match in a statement released 90 minutes before kick-off.
It was unclear if he would play against the African champions, given the form of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford in his position – but sources have indicated to Sportsmail that Sterling may have flown home.
Asked about Sterling missing Sunday’s game, manager Gareth Southgate told ITV: ‘I had quite a bit of time with him this morning but I have had to pass that on to other people to help him with that.’
Pressed on if Sterling will remain with the rest of the squad, Southgate added: ‘He is going to go and deal with that matter and then we will have to take it from there really.’
England have been in Qatar for almost three weeks and Sterling started their opening games against Iran and USA, playing 139 minutes across the two fixtures.
Raheem Sterling has been left out of England’s squad to face Senegal on Sunday evening
Sterling (pictured right) with girlfriend Paige Milian (middle) and his three children
Sterling, who scored in the first game against Iran, is out in order to deal with a family matter
Sources have indicated to Sportsmail that Sterling (right) may have flown home from Qatar
He was an unused substitute as Gareth Southgate made changes for the final group game against Wales.
On Wednesday England confirmed that defender Ben White had left the group and flown home due to a personal matter.
The FA confirmed the defender, who was yet to feature for Gareth Southgate’s side in Qatar, left the team’s training camp in Al Wakrah.
Their statement added that White was not expected to return to Qatar.
Sterling started the opening games against Iran and USA, playing 139 minutes across the two
There was no guarantee Sterling (left) would have started against Senegal given fierce competition in attack positions from Bukayo Saka (right), Marcus Rashford and Phil Foden
‘Ben White has left England’s training base in Al Wakrah and returned home for personal reasons,’ read the statement.
‘The Arsenal defender is not expected to return to the squad for the remainder of the tournament.
‘We ask that the player’s privacy is respected at this moment in time.’
His club Arsenal on Wednesday night tweeted: ‘We’re all with you, Ben.’
England defender Ben White has gone home from the World Cup due to ‘personal reasons’
England take on African champions Senegal on Sunday in the last-16 in the knowledge that victory sets up a glamour quarter-final with France, after they defeated Poland 3-1 earlier in the day.
Southgate made one change from the rout of Wales, replacing two-goal scorer Rashford with Saka.