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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins called into England squad for the first time


Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins called into England squad for the first time as Gareth Southgate hands Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw and John Stones returns for World Cup qualifiers

  • Gareth Southgate has named 26-strong squad for World Cup qualifiers 
  • England play San Marino, Albania and Poland before the end of the month
  • Ollie Watkins, the Aston Villa striker, receives his first senior England call-up
  • West Bromwich Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is picked for the first time
  • Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw and John Stones return to the Three Lions fold 
  • Southgate said Trent Alexander-Arnold has been dropped from latest squad 

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has been handed his first England call-up by Gareth Southgate for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers. 

West Bromwich goalkeeper Sam Johnstone has also been given his debut senior international call up, while Jesse Lingard, John Stones and Luke Shaw have been handed recalls by Southgate.

However, there is no Patrick Bamford in the squad – Southgate was due to make a final check on his fitness this morning.

Jude Bellingham has been included in the squad, but there is some doubt over whether he will be able to join up due to strict Covid restrictions in Germany. 

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Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has been called into the England squad for the first time

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins has been called into the England squad for the first time

Jesse Lingard has been handed an England return after his excellent form for West Ham

Jesse Lingard has been handed an England return after his excellent form for West Ham

England manager Gareth Southgate has named his squad for a trio of World Cup qualifiers

England manager Gareth Southgate has named his squad for a trio of World Cup qualifiers 

England squad in full 

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Manchester United), Sam Johnstone (West Bromwich Albion), Nick Pope (Burnley)

Defenders: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jesse Lingard (West Ham United, loan from Manchester United), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham United), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

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There is no place also for Trent Alexander-Arnold or Harry Winks. Villa’s Jack Grealish also misses out as he returns from injury. 

Southgate confirmed that Liverpool man Alexander-Arnold had been dropped, saying: ‘I don’t think he’s played at the level he’s been at during the last few years. He’s a big talent and I’m sure he will play a big role for England in the future.’

Villa forward Watkins has scored 12 club goals this season and receives a first call-up to the senior squad. 

Lingard hasn’t been part of an England squad since the 2019 UEFA Nations League in Portugal but his strong form on loan at West Ham from Manchester United has caught Southgate’s eye.

Southgate said: ‘Jesse is a bit fortunate to be in [as] we’ve got injuries in attacking areas but his performances for West Ham have been excellent. 

‘We know he can perform at this level. We trust him and think he can play a big part.’

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Manchester City defender Stones is enjoying a very good campaign and is rewarded with a first call-up since October 2019, while Manchester United left-back Shaw hasn’t been involved since a Nations League game with Spain in September 2018.

Manchester City defender John Stones returns to the England fold for the first time since 2019

Manchester City defender John Stones returns to the England fold for the first time since 2019

Luke Shaw is back in the England squad following a positive season for Manchester United

Luke Shaw is back in the England squad following a positive season for Manchester United

Baggies keeper Johnstone has been capped at every England level from under-16 to under-20 and comes in to the squad following the injury suffered by No 1 Jordan Pickford of Everton. 

Kieran Trippier of Atletico Madrid is in the squad despite limited game time this year because of his betting ban. 

The 26-strong squad report for duty on Monday morning as they begin their journey to the Qatar World Cup next year with a qualifier triple-header.

They face San Marino at Wembley on Thursday next week before a trip to Albania on Sunday March 28 and a home fixture with Poland on Wednesday March 31.   

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