England manager Roy Hodgson has named a 24-man squad for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania and friendly against Italy at the end of March.
Hodgson has handed red-hot Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane his first call up to the full national team, as Spurs’ main man has scored 26 goals in all competitions for the north London club. Kane, 21, has appeared and scored goals for multiple England youth teams and has finally got his chance to shine on the international stage.
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“I think the whole country is excited about Harry,” Hodgson said. “It would have been a surprise if he wasn’t selected.”
Elsewhere Hodgson has only called up two goalkeepers in Joe Hart (following his sensational display against Barcelona for Manchester City) and Fraser Forster who has shone for Southampton all season.
In defense youngster John Stones is missing, while Kieran Gibbs is preferred as a left back option compared to Ryan Bertrand. Kyle Walker is also included as he battles with Nathaniel Clyne for the right back spot.
In midfield Manchester United’s vice-captain and veteran central midfielder Michael Carrick is recalled, plus Theo Walcott will feature for England for the first time in over a year as the Arsenal man is fully fit after his knee injury.
Up top Kane is joined by England’s skipper Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Liverpool’s fit-again Daniel Sturridge. Players who can feel a little hard done by at not making the latest England squad include West Brom’s Saido Berahino, Burnley’s striker Danny Ings and QPR forward Charlie Austin.
The Three Lions host Lithuania in a qualifier (England have won all four qualifiers so far) at Wembley on Mar. 27 and then travel to Italy to face the Azzurri in a friendly match in Turin on Mar. 31.
Full England squad
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Fraser Forster
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Leighton Baines, Luke Shaw, Kyle Walker, Kieran Gibbs
Midfielders: Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley, Fabian Delph, James Milner, Theo Walcott, Andros Townsend, Michael Carrick
Strikers: Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge