First England calls for quartet

13 November 2010 09:30

Andy Carroll, Jay Bothroyd, Chris Smalling and Jordan Henderson have all earned first England call-ups for Wednesday's friendly with France at Wembley.

Fabio Capello has handed the quartet their opportunity as part of a much-changed squad to tackle the 2006 World Cup runners-up.

Although Carroll and Henderson had been heavily tipped for inclusion, it is more of a shock that Bothroyd and Smalling have been picked.

However, Capello has decided to go with youth for the first of two friendlies before England's next competitive game, against Wales at the Millennium Stadium on March 26.

And that would mean a return home for Bothroyd if he were to be involved as the striker presently plays his club football for Cardiff in the Championship.

Not since David Nugent - then of Preston - scored in a 3-0 win over Andorra in Barcelona in March 2007 has a Championship player been capped by England.

However, the first hints that Bothroyd was under consideration came a couple of weeks ago, since when the 28-year-old, who has previously played for Coventry, Charlton and Wolves, and also had a short spell in Italy with Perugia, has maintained his impressive form.

The Islington-born player has now scored in Cardiff's last seven games and took his overall tally for the season to 15 with a double at Scunthorpe.

Yet the mere fact Capello is having to dip into English football's second tier - even to a club that seems bound for the Premier League - is an indication of how weak his depth of strikers is once injuries take hold, as they have done this time around with the absences of Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent, Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora.

Source: PA