Gareth Southgate has restored Marcus Rashford to the England squad following the Manchester United teenager’s demotion under Sam Allardyce, but Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshere continue to be overlooked by the interim-manager ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia.
Rashford, 18, is named amongst the forwards in Southgate’s squad after scoring a hat-trick for the Under-21s against Norway last month in the wake of Allardyce’s decision not to select the youngster for the 1-0 victory in Slovakia.
Allardyce, who has since left his post after just one game in charge as a result of comments made to undercover reporters in a newspaper investigation, also omitted Everton midfielder Barkley and Arsenal’s Wilshere from his Slovakia squad.
But although Southgate is without the injured Adam Lallana and Danny Drinkwater, neither Barkley nor Wilshere has been selected, with the interim manager instead calling up United’s uncapped Jesse Lingard and Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Defenders Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne also miss out due to injury, with Stoke City’s Glen Johnson earning a surprise return to the senior squad for the first time since the 2014 World Cup.
“We’ve tried to keep some continuity from last month because my view would be that there are a lot of things that have been going right,” Southgate said.
“We’ve had a few people unavailable through injury like Harry Kane and Jack Butland.
“We’ve lost a couple over the weekend in Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne while Luke Shaw isn’t quite back fit yet. That’s had a bearing on the squad.
“There are obviously a couple of players that I’ve worked with in the Under-21s with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who we think are exciting young players who we wanted to put in this squad.”
England face Malta at Wembley on Saturday before travelling to Ljubljana to meet Slovenia on October 11.
And with the squad due to report for duty at St George’s Park on Tuesday, Southgate insists that, after the shock of Allardyce’s departure, the priority now is for the players to focus on the forthcoming qualifiers following the winning start against Slovakia.
“It’s obviously been a difficult week in a number of ways,” he said. “But we are in a position now where it’s important to get the squad named.
“I’m looking forward now to working with the players because it’s important that we build on the performance and the result against Slovakia.”
The FA, meanwhile, have confirmed that Leicester City coach Craig Shakespeare – appointed to the England set-up by Allardyce – will not figure under Southgate, who has retained Sammy Lee and Martyn Margetson, as well as promoting Under-21 coach Steve Holland.
FA Technical Director, Dan Ashworth said: “We really appreciate Craig’s contribution with the England team and would like to thank him for his hard work with us.
“Craig is an outstanding coach and would be welcome back in the England set-up at any time.”
England’s 23-man squad to face Malta and Slovenia:
Forster (Southampton), Hart (Torino), Heaton (Burnley); Bertrand (Southampton), Cahill (Chelsea), Jagielka (Everton), Johnson (Stoke), Rose (Tottenham), Smalling (Man Utd), Stones (Man City), Walker (Tottenham); Dier (Tottenham), Henderson (Liverpool) Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) Alli (Tottenham), Rooney (Man Utd), Antonio (West Ham), Lingard (Man Utd), Sterling (Man City), Walcott (Arsenal), Rashford (Man Utd), Sturridge (Liverpool), Vardy (Leicester).