Barkley in line for England recall

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The Independent Online

Olly Barkley's England career could be resurrected when Martin Johnson names his 44-man squad for the summer tour to Australia and New Zealand later this morning.

Bath centre Barkley won the last of his 23 caps against the All Blacks in June 2008 and has not featured for England since Johnson took full charge of the national team.



Barkley endured an unhappy season at Gloucester before returning to his beloved Bath last summer, only to be sidelined until the new year after suffering a broken leg in pre-season training.



But he has roared back to form in recent weeks, playing an integral role in Bath's late charge into the Guinness Premiership semi-finals.



"If I was part of England's selection committee, Olly would be a certainty to tour," said Bath boss Steve Meehan after Barkley had masterminded Sunday's destruction of Leeds.



With Riki Flutey injured, Barkley would offer an ideal solution to England's problem position at inside centre and could well form an exciting new midfield partnership with Wasps' Dom Waldouck.



Lewis Moody, who will join Barkley at Bath next season, is likely to remain as captain after successfully taking over the reins when injury forced Steve Borthwick out of England's RBS 6 Nations game against France in Paris.



Saracens boss Brendan Venter said last week that Borthwick will take the summer off in a bid to overcome a long-standing knee problem.



Johnson must also decide whether to take Wasps prop Phil Vickery and flanker Tom Rees. Both players only recently returned to action from neck and shoulder surgery respectively.



Sale loose-head prop Andrew Sheridan is definitely out of the tour, which could open up a place for Newcastle's rising star Jon Golding.



England face the Barbarians at Twickenham on May 30 before tackling a five-match schedule, which includes two Tests against Australia, giving Johnson time to work with England's next generation.



Leeds' South Africa-born flanker Hendrie Fourie is one being tipped for World Cup inclusion after enjoying an impressive breakthrough season under Neil Back's tutelage at Headingley.



Saracens pair Alex Goode and Andy Saull also both have strong claims for selection in Johnson's squad, which will be revealed at 10am.



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