Wolves' Jarvis handed surprise England call-up
The Wolverhampton Wanderers winger Matt Jarvis was the surprise new name last night in Fabio Capello's 26-man England squad to play Wales and Ghana over the next eight days, with the Italian picking a large group of players in anticipation of withdrawals.
Jarvis, 24, scored the only goal in Wolves' win over Aston Villa on Saturday and has been on Capello's radar for some time – he has been selected in the larger pre-announcement provisional squads in the past this season. It caps an impressive rise from the Football League with Gillingham where he started eight years ago as a 17-year-old.
A naturally right-footed player, Jarvis operates predominantly on the left side for Wolves and has been given his chance with the injury to Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson's lack of match fitness since his return to action on Thursday for Manchester City.
There is no place once again for Michael Carrick, whom Capello has now not selected in his last four squads. Tottenham's right-back Kyle Walker, currently on loan at Aston Villa, keeps his place in the squad ahead of Micah Richards. Andy Carroll returns and Aaron Lennon is selected for the first time since the squad for the Montenegro Euro 2012 qualifier in October.
Peter Crouch, who withdrew with a back injury from the previous squad to face Denmark last month, and Phil Jagielka both return to the squad. Otherwise, there are no notable absentees – other than those enforced by injury.
The England players meet for the first time tonight and have their first training session together tomorrow morning. With the focus firmly on John Terry, he will speak for the first time about his reinstatement to the role of captain on Friday afternoon after the squad has arrived in Cardiff.
It is Capello's first Euro 2012 qualifier after the disappointment of England's goalless draw with Montenegro at Wembley in October. England trail Montenegro, who have played one game more, by three points in their qualification group. Wales have lost all three of their games so far.
With the dust still not settled around Terry's appointment as captain and a general sense of unease about what Capello may do next, victory in Cardiff is crucial for the England manager. After that, the next qualifier is not until 4 June when England play Switzerland at Wembley.
Nevertheless, the popularity of the national team remains as enduring as ever with the Football Association announcing that Wembley is sold out for the visit of Ghana a week on Tuesday. Remarkably, the FA says that 20,000 tickets have been sold to Ghana fans, the largest away following for an international since the stadium re-opened with a 90,000 capacity in 2007.
Jarvis, the son of Nick and Linda Jarvis who both reached No 1 in their respective English table tennis rankings, said in an interview with The Independent in October that he was not sure whether he would ever be given his chance to play for his country.
Jarvis, who has never won an under-21s cap, said: "It is everyone's dream to play for their country and it would be absolutely fantastic but I don't want to tempt fate. The people [who play] in my position are all young. There are a lot of players who might think about it after this tournament [Euro 2012] when it will be a whole new up-and-coming team, which will be exciting."
Should he play for England over the next eight days, Jarvis will be the first Wolves player to be capped for his country since Steve Bull won the last of his 13 caps in 1990.
* To face Wales in a Euro 2012 qualifier on Saturday and Ghana in a friendly a week on Tuesday.
B Foster (Birmingham), R Green (West Ham), J Hart (Man City); L Baines, P Jagielka (both Everton), G Cahill (Bolton), A Cole, J Terry (both Chelsea), M Dawson (Spurs), G Johnson (Liverpool), J Lescott (Man City), K Walker (Aston Villa); G Barry, J Milner (both Man City), S Downing, A Young (both Aston Villa), M Jarvis (Wolves), F Lampard (Chelsea), A Lennon (Spurs), S Parker (West Ham), J Wilshere (Arsenal); D Bent (Aston Villa), A Carroll (Liverpool), P Crouch, J Defoe (both Spurs), W Rooney (Man United).
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