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West Ham´s Antonio handed first England call-up

Sam Allardyce has called up West Ham winger Michail Antonio for his first England squad.

After scoring two goals in his side’s first three Premier League games, the 26-year-old has been handed a debut senior call-up for England’s first World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on September 4.

Of the players who missed Euro 2016, Manchester United defender Luke Shaw, Everton’s Phil Jagielka, Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Arsenal attacker Theo Walcott all return to the fold.

Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart is also included in Allardyce’s 23-man squad despite losing his place in his club side’s starting line-up, with a transfer before Wednesday’s deadline looking increasingly likely following the signing of Claudio Bravo.

Wayne Rooney, who is waiting to discover if he will maintain his status as captain in the Allardyce era, is named, but intriguingly listed as a midfielder in the Football Association’s squad announcement.

But it is the call-up for West Ham’s Antonio that is the biggest surprise, with the former Nottingham Forest player ecstatic at his selection for the national side.

He told West Ham TV: “I’m overwhelmed. I got slightly emotional when I found out. It’s just one of those things that I’ve always dreamt of playing for England as a kid, so now for it to happen after I’ve worked my way from non-league to where I am now, I am just so happy.

“I don’t even know what to say – words can’t explain how happy I am! I just give my all every time I go on the field, so for me to be called-up by England, I don’t know what to say. 

“All I can do is go out there on the international stage and show there is a reason why the gaffer has called me up.

“I didn’t think that it would happen this quick, but I always said to myself that if I could get into the Premier League and keep playing the way I do, hopefully I could get into the England squad.

“I turned down an approach from Jamaica in March and for this to happen so quickly, I’m buzzing!”

England squad to play Slovakia: 

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

Sun 28 Aug, 2016
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