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Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen return to England squad for double-header

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 5 Oct 2023

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Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen have returned to the England set-up but there is no place for Raheem Sterling once again.

The penultimate camp of 2023 kicks off with a Wembley friendly against Australia before hosting Italy under the arch in a European Championship qualifier.

Gareth Southgate named a 26-man squad for the October double-header, with uncapped Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah again getting the nod as a pair of in-form forwards made their long-awaited returns.

Watkins has not been called up since March 2022 and returned days after Southgate watched the striker score a hat-trick in Aston Villa’s 6-1 win against Brighton.

Bowen returns to the England squad for the first time since September 2022 having scored five goals in seven league games for West Ham.

There was no place for team-mate James Ward-Prowse despite his fine start to life in east London.

Sterling was another conspicuous by his absence after Southgate overlooked the 82-cap Chelsea forward for September’s fixtures. Mason Mount is also out despite returning to action with Manchester United.

John Stones returned from injury and Bukayo Saka was selected despite fitness concerns, while Ben Chilwell, Eberechi Eze and Callum Wilson were ruled out.

Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips retained their place despite ongoing questions over their playing time, while Jordan Henderson also remained after moving to Saudi Arabia.

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