Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck have been selected by Gareth Southgate for England’s 28-man squad ahead of their World Cup qualification games against Malta and Slovakia.
The Three Lions will meet up at St. George’s Park on Sunday before traveling to face Malta on Friday 1 September. Three days later, England will take on Slovakia at Wembley.
The news will come as a boost to Welbeck who hasn’t featured for England since March 2016. Chamberlain scored against Scotland in the 2-2 draw during the last Interlull.
Theo Walcott misses out, but seeing as it’s a tournament year it’s probably better the disappointment sinks in now rather than on the golf course the day the squad for Russia 2018 is selected.
Southgate has included a couple of new faces in his squad, including Nathaniel Chalobah, Harry Maguire and Jordan Pickford.
One man who we won’t be seeing in an England shirt again is Wayne Rooney who retired this week. Despite the Scouse gremlin being Diver McDiverface when United ended Arsenal’s Invincible run, Arsene Wenger praised the striker’s contribution at international level.
“I think it’s the right thing [to retire] because he’s given a lot to England,” Wenger told his pre-Liverpool press conference.
“He’s one of the last of the great generation. He had bad luck maybe not to win the World Cup but it doesn’t take away his great contribution to England. What he has done has been absolutely remarkable.
“I believe that he’s at the stage of his career where he has to focus on the club if you want to play regularly. It’s the right decision.”
At under-21 level, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, fresh from winning the under-19 World Cup, has been included in Aidy Boothroyd’s squad for their opening European Championship qualifications games against the Netherlands and Latvia.
UEFA rules stipulate that players are only eligible to play in the competition if they were born on or after 1 January 1996 which means both Rob Holding (20 September 1995) and Calum Chambers (20 January 1995) are too old.