Wilshere recalled by England after two years in international wilderness

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The Arsenal midfielder is looking for his first Three Lions appearance since 2016, while Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope has been handed a maiden call-up

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been recalled to the England squad for upcoming friendly dates with the Netherlands and Italy.

The 26-year-old has been drafted back into the Three Lions fold by Gareth Southgate after two years in the international wilderness.

Wilshere’s last appearance for his country, which earned him a 34th cap, came in the embarrassing Euro 2016 exit suffered at the hands of Iceland.

He admitted in January, as talk of a possible recall surfaced for the first time, that it was his intention to push for a place in Southgate’s 2018 World Cup plans.

An opportunity to stake a claim for a seat on the plane to Russia has now presented itself for a man who was worked his way back into favour at Arsenal this season to make 30 appearances across all competitions.

Southgate said on Wilshere: "Jack's a player that has unquestionable talent. The key for me is that he is playing in the games that matter for Arsenal.

"He's getting closer to where we want him. His technical ability in the middle of the park will be very useful."

Elsewhere, in an experimental squad which is intended to give those on the fringes of the fold a chance to prove their worth, there are a number of maiden call-ups.

Burnley’s Nick Pope has seen his fine Premier League form rewarded with a spot in a goalkeeping contingent which once again includes Joe Hart despite his struggles during a loan spell at West Ham.

Southgate added on the battle to line up between the sticks: "Clearly the number one jersey is up for grabs.

"Joe has had a difficult period with his club and he had to miss out on selection a few times when David Moyes came in.

"He's got a great number of caps and he's the most experienced keeper in our squad so we wanted to keep him around

"With Nick Pope his form has been excellent. It's great credit to Sean Dyche that we have got three Burnley players in our squad.

"We need to find out a bit more about them because if we lose one of our more experienced players then we will need them to fill the void, but Nick's form has warranted his place in the squad."

Alfie Mawson Swansea City

Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson is also included for the first time, along with Burnley defender James Tarkowski.

Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook, who previously figured in the senior ranks for a friendly clash with Brazil in November 2017, gets another nod from Southgate and Ashley Young’s renaissance at Manchester United sees him looking to add to a 31-cap haul.

Adam Lallana also makes the grade despite concerns regarding his fitness amid another injury-hit campaign at Liverpool.

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An untimely knock means that Tottenham striker Harry Kane is among the notable absentees, with a man hoping to take the armband in Russia this summer set to be sidelined until April with ankle ligament damage.

Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy will compete to lead the line against the Dutch on March 23 and Italy four days later.


England squad in full


Position Players
Goalkeepers Jack Butland, Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders Ryan Bertrand, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Alfie Mawson, Danny Rose, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young
Midfielders Dele Alli, Lewis Cook, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Jake Livermore, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere
Forwards Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck

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