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Bullard surprise in England squad for World Cup matches

Jimmy Bullard has been a surprise call-up to Fabio Capello's England squad for next month's 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Croatia on September 6 and 10.

Capello has been forced to call-up the previously untried 29-year-old Bullard as cover for the injured Steven Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick as England start on the road to South Africa.

There was no place in Capello's 23-man squad for Michael Owen, who the Italian watched make his first full appearance of the season at Arsenal on Saturday, or Peter Crouch, who was again omitted despite his goal for Portsmouth at Everton, also on Saturday.

Micah Richards, who had originally been picked for the England Under-21s' European Championship qualifier with Portugal on Friday, was also ruled out through injury, leaving Glen Johnson as back-up for Wes Brown at right-back.

Once again, Emile Heskey takes his place in a four-man strike force that also includes Arsenal's Theo Walcott, plus Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe, who started the unconvincing friendly draw with the Czech Republic on August 20.

West Ham keeper Robert Green returns to the England squad, as does Everton's Joleon Lescott, who replaces Jonathan Woodgate.

Capello has also kept faith with David Beckham, despite the former England skipper receiving severe criticism for his performance against the Czechs.

England squad

Keepers: Paul Robinson (Blackburn), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham)

Defenders: Joleon Lescott (Everton), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), John Terry (Chelsea), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Matthew Upson (West Ham)

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Jimmy Bullard (Fulham), David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), David Bentley (Tottenham), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham)

Strikers: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth), Emile Heskey (Wigan)

Sun 31 August, 2008
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