England call up Wilshere and Gibbs
London: Uncapped Arsenal youngsters Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs and Fulham forward Bobby Zamora were named in the England squad for Wednesday’s friendly against Hungary as Fabio Capello began his post-World Cup rebuilding job.
Only 10 of the 23 players on duty in South Africa were included in the 23-man group named by Capello on Saturday though the core of his World Cup team remain.
Goalkeepers David James, who turned 40 this week, and Rob Green miss out, as do Tottenham Hotspur duo Aaron Lennon and the injured Jermain Defoe, West Ham United centre back Matthew Upson and Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.
Peter Crouch was also left out, while fellow striker Emile Heskey, widely criticised by England fans after his ineffective displays, has retired from international football.
Wes Brown, Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are given the chance to stake a defensive claim while Ashley Young, Darren Bent and Carlton Cole will vie with Zamora to accompany Wayne Rooney up front.
Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson, who were both culled from the final World Cup squad, were also recalled.
Wednesday’s Wembley match is Capello’s only chance to experiment with a new line-up before qualifying begins for the 2012 European championship.
Creative midfielder Wilshere, 18, became Arsenal’s youngest league player two years ago but spent half of last season on loan at Bolton Wanderers after failing to secure a first-team place under Arsene Wenger.
“Being called up to the England squad is a proud moment for me and my family but my first target is to break into the Arsenal team and play on a regular basis,” Wilshere told his club’s website.
“To achieve that, I need to keep my head down, work hard and stay focussed.”
Gibbs, 20, had just began to make a serious challenge to become his club’s first-choice left back when he suffered a broken foot last November that ended his season.
“It’s a welcome surprise to have been called up by Fabio Capello, it is a special moment to be called up to the first team squad,” Gibbs said.
“To reach my full potential, it’s important that I keep on improving all aspects of my game and this call-up will certainly be a great learning experience for me. I just want to make the most of every opportunity I am given to better my game.” “I have to say this a real boost for me as I spent over five months out through injury and this is a good opportunity to thank the surgeons and medical support I’ve received to get me back to full fitness.”
Zamora’s goalscoring exploits for Fulham at home and in Europe last season propelled him towards a World Cup call-up but he ruled himself out as he needed surgery for a long-standing Achilles injury.
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Birmingham City), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Paul Robinson (Blackburn Rovers).
Defenders: Wes Brown (Manchester United), Gary Cahill (Bolton Wanderers), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham Hotspur), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), John Terry (Chelsea).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Carlton Cole (West Ham United), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Bobby Zamora (Fulham).