England squad: Charlie Austin, Jamie Vardy and Tom Heaton receive their first call-ups

Austin and Vardy were both playing non-league football in recent season

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The Independent Online

Roy Hodgson has called up Charlie Austin and Jamie Vardy for his England squad to face the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia, the latter a Euro 2016 qualifier, next month.

The Leicester City striker Vardy, QPR’s Austin and Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton are all called up for the first time. Hodgson said that Ashley Young was not considered because of a “slight issue” with his fitness that has been identified by Manchester United’s medical staff and needs treatment this summer.

“On this occasion I decided it wasn’t the right moment to ask him [Young] to come back,” Hodgson said. “I haven’t called time on his [international] career and neither has he.”

It caps a remarkable rise for the 25-year-old Austin who only turned professional in 2009 when he had a successful trial at Swindon Town. Previously at Poole Town he worked as a bricklayer while playing non-league in the Wessex Premier.  Vardy, 28, joined Leicester from Fleetwood Town in the Conference three years ago.

Hodgson said that he watched Vardy when he was playing for Fleetwood. “That pace and desire to run in behind defenders are always interesting for coaches,” he said. “This latter part of the season when he has helped Leicester with their great escape has been really excellent.”

Austin has scored 17 goals this season in the Premier League, fourth behind Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Harry Kane, who is with the England Under-21s. Daniel Sturridge is injured and Saido Berahino has also been assigned to the Under-21s.

Hodgson said that he hoped Jack Grealish, the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international eligible for England, would chose to play for the country of his birth. “As far as I am concerned it will be Jack Grealish’s decision and his alone. We should respect that decision. I don’t think we should use undue influence. He will have people influence him. I will leave it to him but if he decides for us, I will be very happy.”

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