LONDON, AFP - Southampton striker Jay Rodriguez's hopes of playing for England at this year's World Cup finals have been dashed after it was announced he'll be out for at least six months with a knee injury.
The 24-year-old forward was one of several Saints players in the running for a place in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for Brazil after scoring 17 goals so far this term.
But Rodriguez, who made his England debut in a friendly against Chile in November, saw his season come to a shuddering halt when he landed awkwardly during Saturday's 4-1 defeat by Manchester City and was carried off on a stretcher at Eastlands.
It looked a severe injury and a Southampton statement on Monday confirmed the news the player had been dreading.
"Southampton Football Club can confirm that, following his injury on Saturday against Manchester City, Jay Rodriguez has been diagnosed as having suffered a rupture to his anterior cruciate ligament," said a statement on the south coast club's website.
"This will keep him out of action for six months and regrettably means he will not be fit for selection by the English national team at this summer's FIFA World Cup in Brazil."
Hodgson was in the stands at Eastlands to see the 24-year-old's agonising injury at first-hand, with the Saints man the second player he has lost to an anterior cruciate ligament injury following Arsenal forward Theo Walcott earlier this season.