The Glasgow 2014 long jump champion has withdrawn from Team England for the Gold Coast Games

Greg Rutherford has withdrawn from the England team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

The 31-year-old world and Olympic gold medallist will miss the defence of the Commonwealth long jump title he claimed in Glasgow in 2014 as he plans to ease himself back into competition.

Rutherford was also forced to miss his world title defence in London last summer after failing to recover from an ankle ligament injury and sports hernia.

“Withdrawing from Team England is not a decision that’s been easy for me to make,” said Rutherford, who won Olympic long jump gold in 2012, plus his world title in 2015. “However, in previous years I’ve attended major championships without a good training block behind me and my performance has suffered as a result.

“I really would have loved to have been involved with the team,” added the Milton Keynes athlete, who claimed his Commonwealth gold four years after securing silver in Delhi. “The Commonwealth Games have been brilliant over the years for me and my two medals from three Games have been highlights for me.

“I am planning on easing myself back into competition, possibly indoors, and then building to the summer season.

“I want to wish the team all the very best out in Australia.”

Replacing Rutherford on the team will be 400m hurdler Jacob Paul, who finished fifth at last summer’s European U23 Championships and claimed silver at the 2017 British Championships.

“I’m thrilled that Team England have replaced me with Jacob Paul,” Rutherford wrote on Twitter. “It gives another up and coming athlete a chance to break though on the senior stage. Something I was lucky enough to do back in 2006.

“Good luck to everyone. COME ON ENGLAND!”