Sterling, Powell & Townsend receive first England Under-21 calls-up

The Liverpool winger had been drafted into the senior squad in September but now makes his debut appearance in the level just below alongside other Premier League starlets
Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has been called up to the England Under-21s squad for the first time alongside fellow new faces Nick Powell and Andros Townsend.

The Reds starlet's promising Premier League performances had led to a non-playing inclusion in Roy Hodgson's senior party for the 1-1 draw against Ukraine in September but he has now dropped down to youth level as one of three first-time calls-up by Under-21s boss Stuart Pearce for the upcoming two-legged Euro 2013 play-off against Serbia.

"For Raheem, to have an insight into the senior team, is fantastic," Pearce told the Football Association's official website. "He’s been in our development squads and has done extremely well for Liverpool and credit to Brendan [Rodgers], who has given him his chance. We are pleased to have him."

"Andros Townsend has also done well and has been around Tottenham's first team squad consistently this year.

"Roy Hodgson and I had a really good conversation in relation to my squad"
- Stuart Pearce
"Nick Powell got his move from Crewe, to a massive club at Manchester United, and has made his first team bow. He has a really bright future.

"I'm really looking forward to bringing them into the squad to give us a lift. They couldn't come in at a more crucial time.

"Roy and I have had a really good conversation in relation to my squad, last night [Tuesday] being the last time we spoke, 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."

Other inclusions who have been involved with the senior England side of late are Steven Caulker, Jack Rodwell, Jordan Henderson and goalkeeper Jack Butland.

Full England Under-21s squad to face Serbia:

Goalkeepers: Ben Amos (Hull City - loan from Manchester United), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Ryan Bennett (Norwich City), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Tom Lees (Leeds United), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Sunderland - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Smith (Tottenham Hotspur), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough - loan from Chelsea), Nick Powell (Manchester United), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Forwards: Nathan Delfouneso (Blackpool - loan from Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton Wanderers), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Wickham (Sunderland).