Andy Carroll recalled to England squad for friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil

The on-loan Liverpool striker has been rewarded for his strong finish to the season

On-loan Liverpool striker Andy Carroll has been recalled to the England squad for this summer's friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Brazil.

Roy Hodgson has also called up Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for the first time.

Beyond that, there are few surprises among the squad for the game against Ireland which will be played at Wembley on May 29 before the Three Lions travel to the 2014 World Cup host country to play Brazil on June 2.

There had been talk that Swansea winger Wayne Routledge would be called up, but Hodgson has opted against giving the 28-year-old an opportunity to earn his first senior cap.

Reading stopper McCarthy has impressed in goal for Reading at the back end of the season and the 23-year-old has been rewarded with his first senior call-up.

Speculation will now begin over who will captain the side in the absence of Steven Gerrard, who misses the friendlies due to a shoulder operation.

Hodgson will ask Ashley Cole if he wants to captain England against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on 29 May, when the controversial left-back is due to receive a commemorative "golden cap" as recognition at reaching the 100-cap milestone with his nation.

Cole is due to play for Chelsea in two post-season games against Manchester City in the United States on 23 May and then two days later in New York.

Nevertheless, Hodgson is keeping an open-mind on playing those Chelsea and City players in the game against Ireland. It would represent something of a rehabilitation for Cole who apologised personally to Football Association chairman David Bernstein for his "#BUNCHOFTWATS" tweet aimed at the FA, for which he was fined £90,000 in October

Hodgson said that he thought it unlikely Cole would want to accept the captaincy, even for one game. It carries with it extensive responsibilities to do press conferences which Cole has steadfastly refused to do for some time. "I don't think he regards himself as a leader," Hodgson said before today. "When I talk of him as a potential captain... it would be a special gesture.

Speaking at today's press conference, Hodgson confirmed he will speak to Cole but says he sees Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as the obvious choices.

"Lampard and Rooney are the captains elect, but I'll speak to Ashley Cole; he's receiving his 100th cap," he told a press conference.

"Most players who receive their 100th cap do receive the honour of captaining the country.

"But the last time I spoke to Ashley about it he was happy to stay in the shadows. Out of courtesy I'll speak to him as I will with Frank and Wayne when we get together."

Hodgson has before today's squad announcement that Rooney was determined to join up with England in spite of his current stand-off with Manchester United over his future. "He knows he is right up there. He has captained England once [under Hodgson] against San Marino in the home game. I know he enjoyed that experience and I am pretty sure there are times when he will captain England again."

Hodgson said he would be comfortable handing Rooney the armband despite his future at Manchester United being unclear.

Rooney handed in a transfer request last week and was left out of the squad that beat Swansea 2-1 in Sir Alex Ferguson's final game in charge at Old Trafford on Sunday.

"His situation at Manchester United is between him and the club. It doesn't really impact on me with England as long as he is fit and playing football," he said.

"There is no doubt that he's doing that and there's no doubt in my mind about his commitment to England."

Hodgson also denied Rooney might lack match-sharpness after falling out of favour with his club.

"I have to debate one of your points - that he's had limited time," he said.

"He didn't play in the last game but in the games he's started, he might not have finished the 90 minutes, but he's played pretty regularly. When you tot up his games he'll be nudging 50 rather than 38."I'm not concerned about his playing time."


England squad to play Republic of Ireland and Brazil:

Goalkeepers: Ben Foster, Joe Hart, Alex McCarthy

Defenders Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Joleon Lescott, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott

Forwards: Andy Carroll, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck