Folarin Balogun has been forced to withdraw from the England Under-21 squad due to injury, Lee Carsley has confirmed.
The Gunners striker was called-up to the Young Lions squad after continuing his remarkable form in France with Stade de Reims. Balogun has scored 18 goals in 29 games for Will Still’s side this season – only Kylian Mbappe and Jonathan David have scored more in Ligue 1.
Balogun has been a regular with the Under-21s in the past, scoring seven goals in 13 appearances since making his debut in 2021. After being snubbed by Gareth Southgate for the first team, the striker was named in Carsley’s squad for their upcoming international friendlies against France and Croatia.
However, the Arsenal striker has been forced to withdraw from the squad after picking up an injury in Reims’ 2-1 defeat to Marseille on Sunday. The New York-born forward played the whole 90 minutes at the Stade Auguste-Delaune II and had his 13th-minute strike cancelled out by the ex-Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez.
A statement on the England football website read: “Nathan Wood has been added to the England MU21s squad following Jarrad Branthwaite’s withdrawal.
“The Swansea City defender has represented multiple England development teams and will now join Lee Carsley’s squad for the first time as they continue preparation for this summer’s UEFA European U21 Championship with fixtures against France and Croatia.
“Branthwaite will remain with PSV Eindhoven after picking up an injury during his club’s draw with Vitesse at the weekend. Folarin Balogun will also miss the forthcoming matches after reporting an injury following Stade de Reims’ defeat to Marseille on Sunday.”
Balogun will now hope to return to full fitness for Reims’ Ligue 1 trip to Nantes on Sunday, April 2. The French side remain in the battle for European football and have 10 games of the season remaining.