ENGLAND'S Euro 2012 hopes are in danger of being wrecked before they have even left for their Krakow base after Frank Lampard was ruled out with a thigh injury.
There was a bad feeling around the squad as the Chelsea midfielder underwent a scan on his leg following an injury picked up in training.
And so it has proved.
Manager Roy Hodgson has been informed the tear Lampard sustained would not heal in time for the star to feature in any of England's three group games, the last of which is against co-hosts Ukraine in Donetsk on April 19.
It left Hodgson with little option other than to tell Lampard he was out and bring in Liverpool starlet Jordan Henderson.
But with Gareth Barry also ruled out after suffering a stomach strain in Saturday's friendly victory over Norway in Oslo, Hodgson has now lost 143 caps from his central midfield resources.
"It's a huge blow for the team, especially coming after the loss of another senior player in Gareth Barry," said Hodgson.
"The fact that the doctor cannot guarantee Frank could take part in any of the group matches means we have to replace him in the central midfield area."
Meanwhile, England coach Gary Neville has vowed that there will never be any repeat of the WAGs debacle at the World Cup in Germany where the wives and girlfriends of players attracted some unwanted attention.
"That won't happen again," he said. "It is a different world now and those mistakes won't happen again under any manager or any regime.
"We are here to play football. We are here to work."