England‘s friendly against Sweden next week. The national coach has made a number of changes from his previous squad that took on Poland and San Marino last month.
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been included in the squad despite the wishes of Arsene Wenger. The central midfielder has only recently returned to first team football following a 16 month absence with injuries to his ankle, foot and knee and the Gunners boss feared that too many competitive games over a short spell could hinder the 20-year-old’s recovery process.
However, Wilshere is now suspended in the Premier League after being sent off against Manchester United last Saturday and will be unavailable for Arsenal’s clash with Fulham, which should ease the French coach’s concerns. Ashley Young also returns to the England team after spending a portion of this season on the injury list.
Hodgson has included a number of young players in his squad, including Raheem Sterling, 17, and Jonjo Shelvey, 20, who have impressed for Liverpool this season. Former members of the London Olympics Great Britain team Steven Caulker and Ryan Bertrand, have also been drawn in to Hodgson’s 23-man squad, while Manchester United youngsters Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck remain involved.
Uncapped Everton midfielder Leon Osman finally earns his first international call-up at 31 years of age and team-mates Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines keep their places.
Steven Gerrard is set to skipper the side for the game at the newly built Friends Arena, marking his 100th appearance in an England shirt.
Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe have been left out of the squad despite both being in good form this season, and the latter starting against Poland last month. Michael Carrick and James Milner were also in the Three Lion’s first XI for the 1-1 draw in Warsaw but have missed out on places in next week’s friendly.
The young line-up and inclusion of the likes of Leon Osman suggests that Hodgson will be using the friendly against Sweden as an opportunity to experiment, analyse his quality in depth, and find out if any of the young English talent that will be on display are ready to perform on the international stage.
The full squad list is as follows:
Hart, Ruddy, Forster; Baines, Bertrand, Cahill, Caulker, Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Shawcross, Walker; Cleverley, Gerrard, Aaron Lennon, Osman, Shelvey, Sterling, Walcott, Wilshere, Ashley Young; Rooney, Sturridge, Welbeck.