Walcott dropped to England youngsters

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The Independent Football

Theo Walcott and Gabriel Agbonlahor are among the players to return from the seniors for next Tuesday's England Under-21 friendly against Slovenia at Hull's KC Stadium.

Walcott, Agbonlahor, Joe Lewis, David Wheater and Tom Huddlestone all travelled with Fabio Capello's squad for the game against Trinidad & Tobago at the end of last season but are now back with Stuart Pearce's Under-21s. They are all unlikely to feature for the seniors against the Czech Republic next Wednesday but a call-up from Capello remains a possibility.

Manchester City's defender Micah Richards has been included by Pearce after recovering from a knee injury sustained in February which saw him miss the rest of the campaign before returning in the Uefa Cup last month.

It is still uncertain where he features in Capello's pecking order but he will be given a chance to impress for the Under-21s under Pearce, who nurtured him at City before getting sacked. Aaron Lennon has been included, as have the City pair of Michael Johnson and Nedum Onuoha, all of whom have been injured in previous squads.

Pearce said: "It is a very strong squad and it's a sign of our intent for the season coming up not just for the Under-21s but the seniors as well."

The Manchester United striker Fraizer Campbell will be returning to the KC Stadium after spending last season on loan at the club.

"Fraizer is a player that the Hull fans will know well and he was a massive part of Hull getting into the Premier League," Pearce added. "The fact he has been around the Manchester United squad in pre-season shows he is progressing and he showed an excellent attitude when he was involved in the Under-21s at the end of last season."

Elsewhere, problems over visas could end the chances of Wales hosting next week's friendly with Georgia in Swansea. The Football Association of Wales, after lengthy discussions yesterday with its Georgian counterparts and the Foreign Office in London, has given Georgia until today to prove they can fulfil next Wednesday's fixture at the Liberty Stadium.

Georgia still want to play the match, as much as to make a political statement as well as to prove to Fifa that they are still able to function as a football authority. But the problem is that because the British embassy in Tbilisi is shut indefinitely following the conflict with Russia, it is impossible for the Georgians to acquire visas to enter the UK.

The FAW, for a range of administrative issues, needs to know by today whether it can go ahead with preparations for the fixture.

In a statement it said: "The FAW has agreed to give the Georgia Football Federation a further 24 hours to try to resolve their travel issues for the match. Talks have been held with the Foreign Office, as the British Embassy in Tbilisi is closed due to the recent hostilities.

"Georgian nationals must have a visa to visit the UK. It is possible that the British Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, may be able to assist. The Georgians are still very keen to see the match played and the FAW support them in that view. However, it is agreed that a final decision must be taken to give everyone as much notice as possible."

If visas can be obtained from the British embassy in Baku, the squad will have to fly to the Azerbaijani capital to collect them, and then continue on to London. But with time running out, it seems likely now that the game will not take place in Wales.

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