Sturridge close to first call-up for England qualifier

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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello is considering naming Daniel Sturridge in a senior England squad for the first time on Monday with injury plaguing so many of his established players ahead of the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on 12 October.

Sturridge, 21, has made a breakthrough of sorts into the Chelsea first team this season after largely failing to make an impact last season. With Emile Heskey now retired from international football, an injury to Jermain Defoe and doubts over Wayne Rooney's fitness, Sturridge is one of the few options left open to Capello. Peter Crouch and Darren Bent are the only two established strikers currently available.

Sturridge was named yesterday in the England Under-21 squad for the 2011 European championship play-off against Romania, the first leg of which is a week today at Carrow Road. Danny Welbeck, also in the squad, is another possibility having gone to Sunderland on loan this season from Manchester United.

The Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson is another one of those in the Under-21s who has been looked at in terms of a possible promotion to the senior squad if Capello's options are limited by injuries. The England manager has still not given up on Rooney's availability for the match which is a week on Tuesday, despite Sir Alex Ferguson declaring him out for the "next two to three weeks" with an ankle injury.

England squad for Uefa Under-21 Championship play-off v Romania (at Carrow Road 8 Oct and in Botosani 12 Oct): F Fielding (Blackburn), S Loach (Watford), A Smithies (Huddersfield) J Steele (Middlesbrough); R Bertrand (Chelsea), K Gibbs (Arsenal), P Jones (Blackburn), M Kelly (Liverpool), M Mancienne (Chelsea), M Richards (Manchester City), C Smalling (Manchester United), K Walker (Tottenham); M Albrighton (Aston Villa), T Cleverley (Manchester United), J Cork (Chelsea), J Henderson (Sunderland), H Lansbury (Arsenal), F Muamba (Bolton), D Rose (Tottenham), J Wilshere (Arsenal); N Delfouneso (Aston Villa), D Sturridge (Chelsea), D Welbeck (Manchester United).