Gareth Southgate has given Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck a World Cup lifeline, recalling the three players to his squad for England’s friendlies against Netherlands and Italy later this month.
These two friendlies will be England’s last games before the end of the season when England get together and prepare for Russia, but Southgate sprung a few surprises in his 27-man squad.
As well as bringing in four uncapped youngsters – Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson, and Lewis Cook – Southgate has given three recalls to players whose first half of the season made them look unlikely to make the 23 for Russia.
Jack Wilshere was surprisingly not selected by Southgate in the autumn but his consistent form for Arsenal this season, but as he returns to full fitness and sharpness Southgate has now brought him back.
“The key for me is he is now playing in the games that matter for Arsenal, and he’s playing well,” Southgate said. “Physically he is getting closer to where he needs to be, and he is having more influence on games.”
Wilshere has not played for England since Euro 2016 and spent last season on loan at Bournemouth.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was left out too in the autumn after a difficult start to his season at Liverpool but he has started to feature more for Jurgen Klopp’s side and Southgate has now brought him back into the group.
Danny Welbeck, the Arsenal striker, has had a difficult season with injuries but now he is back in the group, with Tottenham striker Harry Kane out for the next four weeks with an ankle ligament injury.
Dele Alli, Ryan Bertrand, Jack Butland, Lewis Cook, Eric Dier, Joe Gomez, Joe Hart, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Jake Livermore, Harry Maguire, Alfie Mawson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope, Marcus Rashford, Danny Rose, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Kieran Trippier, Jamie Vardy, Kyle Walker, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Ashley Young
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