Rooney set for return to England duty

Wayne Rooney is on course to play a part in England's friendly against Serbia and Montenegro at Leicester on Tuesday after returning to full training at the squad's base in La Manga yesterday.

The Everton teenager has been troubled by a knee injury since the final game of the domestic season, forcing him out of the trip to South Africa last week. Provided that Rooney suffers no reaction to his injury problems and has further treatment from the Everton medical staff, he will return to training with the England squad when they meet again on Sunday.

The Serbia and Montenegro coach, Dejan Savicevic, has included two debutants in his 25-man squad for the game. The Zeleznik Belgrade defender Slobodan Markovic and the Red Star Belgrade midfielder Dragan Mladenovic have been called up in place of the injured Lazio pair Dejan Stankovic and Nikola Lazetic.

David Platt, the England Under-21 coach, has called up six new players for the internationals against Serbia and Montenegro at Hull and Slovakia at Sunderland next month. The Newcastle United striker Michael Chopra, who attended the same school in Gosforth as Alan Shearer and has represented England from Under-15 to Under-20 level, has been called up after a successful loan period at Watford last season.

The Sheffield United pair, Phil Jagielka and Michael Tonge, have also been called up for the first time, as a reward for their roles in the Blades' cup and promotion challenges. "Both players have been impressive in a season full of big games for Sheffield United," Platt said. "They and all of the players will now be looking to follow the example of Gareth Barry, who has shown that, if you have quality, consistency and mental strength, you can make the progression from the Under-21s to the senior international squad."

The game against Serbia and Montenegro at Hull on 2 June is a 24,000 sell-out, which will provide a warm-up for the European Under-21 Championship qualifier with Slovakia at the Stadium of Light eight days later.

ENGLAND UNDER-21 SQUAD (Friendly v Serbia & Montenegro, Hull, 2 June; European Under-21 Championship qualifier v Slovakia, Sunderland, 10 June): Bywater (West Ham), Evans (Chelsea), Lee (Watford), Ambrose, Ameobi (both Newcastle), D Bent (Ipswich), Chopra (Newcastle), Clarke (Everton), C Cole (Chelsea), Crouch (Aston Villa), Dawson (Nottingham Forest), Defoe (West Ham), Heath (Leicester), Jagielka (Sheffield Utd), G Johnson (West Ham), Konchesky (Charlton), McEveley (Blackburn), O'Neill (Portsmouth), Parnaby (Middlesbrough), Pennant (Arsenal), Prutton (Southampton), Sidwell (Reading), Tonge (Sheffield Utd), Zamora (Brighton).

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