U21s omission hints at Carroll call-up
Andy Carroll looks set for his first senior England call-up after being left out of the Under-21 squad for the European Championship play-offs. However, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs are likely to miss out on selection for England's Euro 2012 qualifier at home to Montenegro a week on Wednesday after both were named in the party for the Under-21s' double-header against Romania. Carroll's omission is understood not to have been injury-related and, with England suffering something of a striker shortage ahead of their October 12 Group G clash, it appears the Newcastle youngster will be drafted into the senior ranks. Manager Fabio Capello looks set to be without Wayne Rooney after Manchester United ruled the forward out for three weeks, while Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora are both definitely out. Carroll, 21, has impressed in his debut Premier League season, scoring four times in six appearances, including a hat-trick against Aston Villa. Wilshere, 18, had been hoping for a recall after being dropped for last month's double-header against Bulgaria and Switzerland. Gibbs, 21, was an unused substitute in both matches but was expected to keep his place in the squad. Instead, the Arsenal pair find themselves back in the Under-21s for the two-legged European U21 Championship play-off against Romania, the winners of which will seal a spot at next summer's finals in Denmark. Wigan's Victor Moses was a surprise omission from the squad, while Everton's Jack Rodwell is still injured. Micah Richards returns after withdrawing from the squad for this month's final two Group Nine qualifiers, while goalkeeper Scott Loach is back after being drafted into the senior squad as cover. Head coach Stuart Pearce's 23-man party will host the first leg of their play-off at Carrow Road a week on Friday before travelling to Botosani for the return four days later. Pearce told the FA's website: "There's been a great team spirit within the squad this season and the results have been pleasing as well. "Now we're in the situation of a play-off after the pressure of last month's games, but I think that will stand them in good stead for these games against Romania." He added: "It will be tough for us. "We've watched Romania on DVD and they are obviously a very good side. But we'd like to think we are a good side too, so that's why there is a consistency within the squad. "More of them have gone out on loan and that will help them as individuals and, fitness-wise, when they turn up they should be much sharper." England squad for UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off against Romania at Carrow Road on October 8 and in Botosani on October 12: F Fielding (Blackburn), S Loach (Watford), A Smithies (Huddersfield) J Steele (Middlesbrough); R Bertrand (Chelsea), K Gibbs (Arsenal), P Jones (Blackburn), M Kelly (Liverpool), M Mancienne (Chelsea), M Richards (Manchester City), C Smalling (Manchester United), K Walker (Tottenham); M Albrighton (Aston Villa), T Cleverley (Manchester United), J Cork (Chelsea), J Henderson (Sunderland), H Lansbury (Arsenal), F Muamba (Bolton), D Rose (Tottenham), J Wilshere (Arsenal); N Delfouneso (Aston Villa), D Sturridge (Chelsea), D Welbeck (Manchester United).
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