Gary Neville last night was handed an unexpected return to the England squad despite having played only five games for Manchester United since January and not figuring for his country for the last two years.
Fabio Capello has called up the 34-year-old, who has 85 caps, for the first time since he took over as England manager as another injury crisis grips the squad ahead of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Andorra next month. Neville last played for England in the friendly game against Spain in February 2007 and his last competitive match for his country was in the disastrous Euro 2008 qualifying defeat to Croatia in October 2006.
Neville's long-term injury problems have not restricted him quite as much this season and he played the full 90 minutes against Hull City yesterday, however, he has only played five games since January. He is now regarded as a third – possibly fourth – choice right-back at United behind John O'Shea, Wes Brown and Rafael da Silva. Brown also played against Hull.
Capello has also named Shaun Wright-Phillips in the squad despite the midfielder having earlier been ruled out because it was thought he required surgery on his knee.
However, that has now been delayed until after the internationals and Wright-Phillips made a substitute's appearance in Manchester City's win over Bolton Wanderers yesterday. Predictably there was no place once again for the increasingly forlorn Michael Owen, instead Jermain Defoe was recalled to the squad having missed the last three games through injury.
David Beckham held his place in the squad. Ashley Young, the Aston Villa winger, also got a recall having lost his place for the two previous games against Slovakia and Ukraine.
As expected, Aaron Lennon is left out because of a groin injury. The others on the injured list are David James, Ben Foster, Stewart Downing and Phil Jagielka as well as the long-term injured Owen Hargreaves. Everton's Leighton Baines, who was in the last squad, loses his place to Wayne Bridge. Curiously, Capello has not selected Ledley King this time despite the defender being fit to play. He played 90 minutes against Liverpool at Anfield yesterday and it raises questions over whether his drunken antics outside a nightclub this month have caused Capello to think twice.
England squad for World Cup qualifiers
*Squad to face Kazakhstan (6 June) and Andorra (10 June): Carson (West Brom), Green (West Ham), Robinson (Blackburn); Bridge (Man City), A Cole (Chelsea), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Johnson (Portsmouth), Lescott (Everton), Neville (Man Utd), Terry (Chelsea), Upson (West Ham); Barry (Aston Villa), Beckham (LA Galaxy), Carrick (Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Walcott (Arsenal), Wright-Phillips (Man City), Young (Aston Villa); C Cole (West Ham), Crouch (Portsmouth), Defoe (Tottenham), Heskey (Aston Villa), Rooney (Man Utd).Reuse content