Crystal Palace and England goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering an elbow injury that is expected to rule him out for the rest of the season and Euro 2024. Johnstone, 31, was initially set to start for England in a friendly against Belgium but had to withdraw from the squad after sustaining the injury in training. He has since undergone surgery and will now focus on his recovery.

With regular understudy Nick Pope also sidelined with an injury and Aaron Ramsdale struggling for game time at Arsenal, the backup goalkeeper spots for the upcoming tournament in Germany are up for grabs. Burnley goalkeeper James Trafford was called up from the Under-21s to replace Johnstone in the squad, while Jack Butland and Dean Henderson are also potential candidates for the role. Henderson, who is Johnstone’s teammate at Crystal Palace, could earn a call-up if he performs well for the remainder of the season.

Johnstone had started the season as Palace’s first-choice goalkeeper before a calf injury in December saw Henderson take over. However, Johnstone returned to the starting lineup in recent weeks and started the last four Premier League games before the international break. Palace, currently 14th in the Premier League, will face Nottingham Forest in their next match on Saturday.

England manager Gareth Southgate will now have to make a decision on who will serve as Jordan Pickford’s backup in goal for the upcoming tournament. With Johnstone ruled out, Southgate will need to assess his options and determine the best fit for the role. The injury to Johnstone has opened up an opportunity for other goalkeepers to stake their claim for a place in the squad and potentially make an impact on the international stage.

The loss of Johnstone is a blow for both Crystal Palace and England, as he has been an important player for both teams this season. His absence will require other players to step up and fill the void left by his injury. The focus now for Johnstone will be on his recovery and returning to full fitness in time for the next season. In the meantime, his teammates and club will have to adjust to his absence and continue to push forward in the remaining games of the season.

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