New Zealand cancel England friendly amid Covid concerns

England are battling to find an opponent for the next international break after New Zealand pulled out of a friendly at Wembley.

The Southern Hemisphere nation were poised to play in London on November 12 but have cited "travel and player availability complications" as their reason for cancelling.

England were poised to play the All Whites before travelling to Belgium three days later for a Nations League clash.

But in a statement posted on their website, New Zealand Football's CEO Andrew Pragnell said: "It is with deep regret that we have been forced to cancel our participation in the upcoming match against England at Wembley.

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"It is not an action taken lightly, this is a match we all wanted to play, however, as it stands of the last All Whites squad selected for the November 2019 tour, even excluding the New Zealand based players, a significant number of the team would be subject to quarantine or restrictions on their return home.

"This would heavily disrupt their domestic seasons and potentially jeopardise their professional careers.

"The shifting nature of travel restrictions and commercial flight availability under Covid means that we do not have certainty we could assemble a squad at Wembley on this day and defaulting on this fixture at the last minute is not an option.

"Prior to Covid we had a full calendar of fixtures planned for the All Whites, and we have been proactive in seeking out matches for the team since the disruption.

How will England fare in next summer's European Championships? Have your say here.

"But unfortunately it just isn't possible to make the new games we have scheduled this year happen.

"We are now looking forward to the March 2021 international window as we begin our qualifying campaign for the FIFA World Cup 2022."

The news will come as a blow to Gareth Southgate who continues to experiment with a host of options as he looks to have the Three Lions primed for next summer's European Championships.

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