Football

Walker called up for England

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Fabio Capello sprang a major surprise when he named Aston Villa defender Kyle Walker in his England squad to face Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Capello has been struggling in the right-back department, with doubts over both Phil Jagielka and Micah Richards, who played in the role against France in November.

Nevertheless, Walker's elevation is a shock and comes at the end of a period when the 20-year-old has excelled in loan spells with both QPR and Villa, Harry Redknapp having decided there is no short-term use for the Sheffield-born player at his parent club Tottenham.

Walker has appeared for England at Under-19 and Under-21 level, making his debut for the former before he had appeared in a Football League match for his first senior club, Sheffield United.

He subsequently joined Tottenham at the start of last season, although he struggled to make an impact at White Hart Lane and it was not until he signed a loan deal with QPR in September that he started to catch the eye.

Capello's lack of options at right-back are emphasised by the fact Glen Johnson is favoured to start in that role against the Danes, even though he has spent the last few weeks at left-back for Liverpool after an inconsistent campaign.

As usual, Capello had to deal with a late problem, in this case in the form of Rio Ferdinand, who suffered a calf injury during the warm-up before Manchester United's defeat at Wolves which will rule him out for a fortnight.

It means Steven Gerrard will inherit the captain's armband, while Michael Dawson, Gary Cahill or Joleon Lescott will partner John Terry in central defence, with Ferdinand missing a 10th game out of the 13 England have played since he inherited the skipper's job from John Terry.



England squad in full:

Goalkeepers:
Ben Foster (Birmingham), Joe Hart (Man City), David Stockdale (Fulham);

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Man City), John Terry (Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa);

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Man City), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Man City), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Aston Villa);

Forwards: Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd)

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Topics:
Internationals
Football
Premier League
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