Walcott, Berahino & Downing named in England squad

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The Arsenal forward has just returned from a nine-month absence against Burnley and instantly slots back into the Three Lions fold, alongside the West Brom youngster

Saido Berahino, Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing are the surprise names called up to Roy Hodgson's latest England squad for the fixtures against Slovenia and Scotland.

Walcott made his return from a serious knee injury against Burnley on Saturday, coming on as an 80th-minute substitute in the 3-0 win to end a nine-month absence, but did not feature in the midweek 3-3 draw with Anderlecht.

Nevertheless, Hodgson has seen fit to include the 25-year-old in his 26-man party for the upcoming double-header, with Walcott joining West Brom youngster Saido Berahino in the squad.

Berahino has enjoyed a stunning season to date, scoring eight goals in 13 appearances in all competitions so far, and the 21-year-old, who was born in Burundi, will provide competition to fellow strikers Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

Downing, meanwhile, returns to the England fold, having played a key role in West Ham's rise into the top five. The winger, who has earned 34 caps, last featured under Hodgson in the 1-0 win over Norway on May 26, 2012, but will join the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling and Andros Townsend in providing a wide option for the 67-year-old.

Elsewhere, Nathaniel Clyne retains his place in the squad, as does Calum Chambers, while Michael Carrick returns after an enforced absence through injury.

England squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Brom), Fraser Forster (Southampton)

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

Forwards: Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Saido Berahino (West Brom)

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