England U21 call-up for Sterling

03 October 2012 05:47

Raheem Sterling looks set to miss out on a place in the England squad for their World Cup double-header against San Marino and Poland after being handed his maiden call-up to the Under-21s.

Liverpool winger Sterling, 17, was a shock late addition to the senior party for last month's Group H draw with Ukraine and was being tipped to be selected again for the October 12 clash with San Marino and trip to Poland four days later.

Instead, he has been added to the Under-21 squad for their two-legged European Championship play-off against Serbia on the same dates.

Young Lions boss Stuart Pearce considered calling up Sterling for last month's final Group Eight qualifiers against Azerbaijan and Norway but was convinced to leave him with the under-19s by Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers.

Sterling, who has made eight appearances for the Reds this season, was joined in a 26-man Under-21 squad by fellow newcomers Nick Powell and Andros Townsend ahead of the first leg of their play-off at Norwich's Carrow Road.

Manchester United youngster Powell hit the headlines last month when he scored on his Barclays Premier League debut against Wigan following his summer move from Crewe, while fellow midfielder Townsend was rewarded for his performances for Tottenham this season.

Pearce said: "For Raheem, to have an insight into the senior team, is fantastic. He's been in our development squads and has done extremely well for Liverpool, and credit to Brendan, who has given him his chance. We are pleased to have him.

"Roy [Hodgson] and I have had a long conversation, last night being the last time, and he is more than aware of the under-21s' key players. What's certain is the players are at the centre of the decisions both Roy and I make."

Squad: Ben Amos (Manchester United), Jack Butland (Birmingham), Declan Rudd (Norwich), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Ryan Bennett (Norwich), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Tom Lees (Leeds), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Adam Smith (Tottenham), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool).

Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Nick Powell (Manchester United), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace); Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Connor Wickham (Sunderland).

Source: PA