England's hopes of winning the 2022 World Cup have been hit after a report emerged that five players have not yet received Covid vaccines.
Organisers are planning to ban all unvaccinated players from competing next year in Qatar, meaning coach Gareth Southgate will have to decide whether to try and convince the players to take jabs or face the prospect of leaving them them out.
A report in The Sun said at least five England players are refusing to be vaccinated.
Three of the players are senior squad members who were part of England's run to the European Championship final this summer.
England are on course to practically clinch qualification for the World Cup this month if they beat Andorra and Hungary, but any players who do not take a Covid jab will be unable to join the team in Qatar.
The report comes a day after Sportsmail revealed there is widespread opposition to vaccines among Premier League footballers.
Almost two-thirds of top-flight players are yet to be fully jabbed and many are refusing altogether.
Club officials are complaining that dressing rooms have been 'polluted' by senior players spreading conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, infertility and the power of vitamins.
The Government's warning last month that compulsory certification could be introduced at one week's notice had sparked alarm as the Premier's League's vaccination crisis shows no sign of abating.
The League remain concerned as the limited nature of many clubs' vaccination programmes increases the chances of damaging Covid outbreaks, but they have been reassured after receiving more details of the Government's winter plan.
Southgate is in favour of vaccines and took part in an advert to ramp up the inoculation drive earlier this summer but is now reluctant to talk about the issue after facing a stream of online abuse.
The England manager said in August as cited by Sports Central: ‘I’m not going to get too involved in this because I was asked to do a video supporting the vaccination programme, which I thought was responsible, and of all the things I’ve received abuse for over the summer of which there’s been several that’s the one I’ve received the most abuse over. 'When you want to try to make a difference, and take the right sort of stance on taking the knee and other things, you know you are not going to please everybody and there are extreme views on lots of those subjects. ‘I’m comfortable with that but I’m not going to town on things like the vaccine in particular. I’m always happy to support the greater good.