Quartet handed first call-ups

04 August 2010 07:31

England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce has called four new players into his squad for the friendly against Uzbekistan at Ashton Gate on August 10.

Blackburn central defender Phil Jones and Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly plus Aston Villa midfielder Marc Albrighton and Sunderland's Jordan Henderson have been included in Pearce's 19-man squad.

The Uzbekistan game is England's only warm-up leading into their European Championship qualifiers agains Portugal and Lithuania in September.

Pearce confirmed Henderson would have been involved in the Under-21s last season had injury not intervened.

As well as four newcomers there are also notable omissions, which could provide a pointer towards Fabio Capello's thinking ahead of England's senior international against Hungary the following day.

Teenage midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has made such an impression for Arsenal during pre-season, is absent along with Sunderland's Lee Cattermole and Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

Newcastle's latest recruit Dan Gosling is also missing, although Everton's highly-rated midfielder Jack Rodwell, who has tipped for senior honours in the near future, has been retained in the Under-21s.

Manchester City winger Adam Johnson and Arsenal wide-man Theo Walcott have also been omitted, probably with a view to them being involved against Hungary.

The Under-21s lost to Greece in March and need to beat both Portugal and Lithuania to qualify for the play-offs.

"We're looking forward to playing again after sitting on a defeat for five months. The defeat to Greece put us in a difficult position in the group so we need to be ready," said Pearce. "It's given us a lot of planning time, so to have a friendly next week is great for us. Going into two important, must-win games next month without this game first would be unthinkable."

Source: PA