Welbeck and Jones in under-21 squad

24 August 2011 07:30

Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones were on Wednesday called into the England Under-21 squad for next month's double-header against Azerbaijan and Israel, casting doubt over their involvement in the senior side's matches with Bulgaria and Wales.

Welbeck had been tipped to keep his place in Fabio Capello's party for the European Championship qualifiers, while his new Manchester United team-mate was an outside bet to earn his maiden call-up.

Both were rare success stories from England's dismal Under-21 Championship campaign in Denmark this summer, with Jones ending the tournament as captain.

Welbeck and Jones are two of eight survivors from head coach Stuart Pearce's 22-man squad which failed to reach the European semi-finals.

Pearce has selected a 27-player group, which includes 12 newcomers.

Among the new faces are Arsenal's Emmanuel Frimpong, Everton's Ross Barkley and Liverpool's John Flanagan, Jonjo Shelvey and Andre Wisdom. Retained from the Under-21 Championship squad were Jordan Henderson, Kyle Walker, Henri Lansbury, Jack Rodwell, Nathan Delfouneso and Connor Wickham.

Along with Welbeck and Jones, they remain eligible for the 2013 tournament, which England begin their qualification campaign for against Azerbaijan on September 1 at Watford. They take on Israel in a friendly at Barnsley four days later.

Pearce, who signed a new two-year contract this summer despite the failure in Denmark, told www.thefa.com: "You've got the likes of Welbeck, who is a still an Under-21 player, around the senior squad, the likes of Henderson mentioned in squads, and Walker.

"There are a lot of players who have gone through the system and that is also what we're trying to achieve, give them as much experience as we humanly can, at all the age groups.

"I'm very pleased that a lot of players are pushing through at both club and country level."

Source: PA