Uncapped duo Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley called up to England squad for World Cup qualifiers

The midfield pair will be available for the matches against Moldova and Ukraine

Roy Hodgson has named uncapped duo Andros Townsend and Ross Barkley in his squad for England's World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine.

Tottenham winger Townsend and Everton midfielder Barkley have been in fine form during the opening stages of the Barclays Premier League and Hodgson has responded by handing them their first international call-ups.

England resume their World Cup qualification campaign a week on Friday against Moldova at Wembley before they play Ukraine in Kiev four days later.

Barkley, 19, scored on the opening day of the season for Everton, while 22-year-old Townsend has performed brilliantly for Spurs since he returned from a loan spell at QPR.

Raheem Sterling has been promoted from the Under-21 squad even though he has only played 18 minutes for Liverpool so far this season.

Striker Rickie Lambert retains his place in the squad after scoring on debut against Scotland earlier this month, while uncapped Celtic stopper Fraser Forster has been called up to replace the injured West Brom keeper Ben Foster.

Daniel Sturridge returns to the squad after sitting out the game against the Scots, while fellow striker Jermain Defoe retains his place in a 27-man squad despite not starting a game for Spurs this season.

New Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has named Wilfried Zaha and Luke Shaw among his 25-man squad for the Euro 2015 qualifiers against Moldova on September 5 and Finland four days later.

When asked about the inclusion of Barkley, Hodgson said: "He impressed me when I worked with him at St George's and at Sheffield Wednesday, and quite a few other people impressed at that that time - Raheem Sterling and of course Andros Townsend, who was on the radar before the Under-21s.

"In choosing these players we are giving ourselves a chance to look at players who are capable of having a bright future.

"I don't think there is a question that this is a philosophy of we will only play this or that type of player. Players like Barkley, Townsend and Sterling can make a difference and in a team they can be players that make a big impact. They are there on merit. It's nice that they're younger.

"I would expect them in the coming years to share roles. I don't expect them not to play a part in the Under-21s. Players need to understand because the door is open at senior level, it doesn't mean you close the door at Under-21 level."

Wayne Rooney was an expected inclusion in the squad and started in Manchester United's goalless draw with Chelsea on Monday night.

The striker's club future has been the subject of much speculation this summer with the Blues lodging two bids to acquire his services but it is understood he will not be handing in a transfer request and Hodgson is confident Rooney will not be distracted by all that is going on around him.

"He's an important player, he's been a fantastic servant for a good number of years now and he's still got the burning ambition to do well," he said.

"A fully fit, match-fit Wayne Rooney is important to the country but he's also important to his club and it's important to Wayne himself because the man loves to play football and he's the first onto the pitch and the last off it.

"I think Wayne Rooney has been under a lot of scrutiny since he was about 17 years of age. If anyone is equipped to deal with scrutiny it is Wayne Rooney.

"I'm sure that (Manchester United manager) David Moyes had no worries or concerns whether he would do anything other than give his best or play to the very best of his ability last night just as I never had any concerns he would do the same for us.

"Because that is the nature of the man, that is the nature of the player."

Hodgson also gave his backing to goalkeeper Joe Hart who has made a number of high-profile errors for Manchester City in the last 12 months.

With West Brom stopper Ben Foster injured, Fraser Forster has been drafted into the squad alongside Hart and John Ruddy but Hodgson is in no doubt who his number one is.

"We all know that goalkeepers and strikers they are the ones in the firing line," he said.

"And if anything goes even marginally wrong they're the ones that everyone turns to and looks at to blame so I'm sure Joe is confident enough and big enough to understand these things

"Goalkeepers like Joe at a top team like Man City, they don't necessarily get a lot to do.

"Joe with England, (at) certain times, doesn't get a lot to do so every time you make a mistake it's highlighted. I accept that, I'm sure he has.

"As far as I'm concerned I have every faith in Joe Hart.

"When I took the job on I thought I had a top-class goalkeeper to work with and 16 months later I still think I've got a top-class goalkeeper to work with.

"I'm pretty sure he'll soon be getting the headlines for all the right reasons again."

England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine:

Goalkeepers: Forster (Celtic), Hart (Man City), Ruddy (Norwich).

Defenders: Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Jagielka (Everton), Johnson (Liverpool), Jones (Man Utd), Smalling (Man Utd), Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Barkley (Everton), Carrick (Man Utd), Cleverley (Man Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Man City), Sterling (Liverpool), Townsend (Tottenham), Walcott (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal).

Forwards: Defoe (Tottenham), Lambert (Southampton), Rooney (Man Utd), Sturridge (Liverpool), Welbeck (Man Utd), Young (Man Utd).

PA

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