Gareth Southgate recalled Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Glen Johnson in his first squad as England interim manager ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
Southgate was confirmed as Sam Allardyce’s temporary successor after the former Sunderland manager was caught up in a controversial newspaper sting and three players in particular have gained from the change.
Rashford was not included in Allardyce’s only England squad, while his Manchester United team-mate Lingard is in line for his first cap having only ever been named in one national team selection in November 2015.
The biggest surprise is the inclusion of Stoke City’s Johnson, who comes in for the injured Nathaniel Clyne as one of four full-backs and he will looking to earn his first cap since England’s 2-1 defeat to Uruguay at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Southgate has been hampered by a few injuries, but he was keen not to shake things up too much from the 1-0 win over Slovakia in September.
“We’ve tried to keep some continuity from last month because my view would be that there are a lot of things that have been going right,” he told TheFA.com.
“We’ve had a few people unavailable through injury like Harry Kane and Jack Butland and we’ve lost a couple over the weekend in Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, while Luke Shaw isn’t quite back fit yet. That’s had a bearing on the squad.
“There are obviously a couple of players that I’ve worked with in the Under-21s with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who we think are exciting young players who we wanted to put in this squad.
“It’s obviously been a difficult week in a number of ways, however we are in a position now where it’s important to get the squad named.
“I’m looking forward now to working with the players because it’s important that we build on the performance and the result against Slovakia.”
England host Malta at Wembley on October 8, before travelling to Slovenia three days later.
England squad to play Malta and Slovenia:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino, loan from Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Stoke City), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham).
Strikers: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).
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