Kieran Gibbs's hopes of playing for England at the World Cup have been dashed, as it was revealed Thursday that the Arsenal defender has been ruled out for the remainder of the Premiership season because of a foot injury.
Gibbs, 20, was on the radar of English national team coach Fabio Capello before he suffered the injury during a Champions League match in November.
The Arsenal star, who has yet to play for the English national team, will have a bone graft on Friday in an attempt to heal the fracture. He is expected to be out of action for about five months, ruling him out of the World Cup, which kicks off on June 11.
Gibbs had earned a handful of caps for England's Under-21 team, but was hoping to impress Capello enough to convince the Italian manager to bring him to South Africa this summer.
The timing of the announcement couldn't have been worse for Gibbs. Arsenal is currently in first place in the Premiership, but the young defender, who made seven appearances for the Gunners this season, will play no further part in the club's campaign to win its first league title since 2004.
It's also a bit of a blow for England, as Gibbs could have served as a backup option to Chelsea's Ashley Cole, widely considered the best left fullback in soccer.
"Needless to say I'm gutted — there's just no other word," Gibbs told Arsenal's official website.
"The other option to surgery would have been to wait and let the bone grow in my foot, but we didn't want to do that because I'd have to wait another six weeks just to have another scan. I'd run the risk of it carrying on into next season, and we don't want to do that."
Gibbs added: "I'm now just looking to recover from the injury, work really hard and be ready for next season."