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Saido Berahino gets maiden England call-up

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England manager Roy Hodgson has rewarded West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino for his impressive club form with a place in his 26-man squad for matches against Slovenia and Scotland.

Hodgson's picked a huge pool of players for those two fixtures, with Berahino's call-up the biggest talking point in a squad which also includes the surprise returns of West Ham United midfielder Stewart Downing and Manchester United playmaker Michael Carrick.

Quite surprisingly there's also a return for Arsenal forward Theo Walcott, despite the speed demon playing just 11 minutes of competitive football so far this season.

Smalling remains despite derby howler

It's hard to see whether Hodgson favours in-form stars or England regulars behind the thinking for quite an experimental squad, because there's examples of both amongst a smattering of new names featured.

Chris Smalling clealry still has the faith of the Three Lions boss though, despite dropping an absolute clanger with his avoidable red card in last weekend's Manchester derby.

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Arsenal core joined by returning Walcott

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger will certainly have been an interested observer as Hodgson confirmed his plans for the Slovenia and Scotland matches, with no fewer than six of his Gunners stars included.

Wenger will likely be most concerned by the inclusion of Walcott and Jack Wilshere, both players he'll be desperate to keep fit.

Walcott's only just returned from a cruciate knee ligament injury suffered in January, while Wilshere's missed Arsenal's last two matches as a precaution to rest a nagging knee complaint of his own.

The England Squad

Goalkeepers:  Fraser Forster, Ben Foster, Joe Hart

Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Calum Chambers, Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling

Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott

Forwards: Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Welbeck, Saido Berahino

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Topics:
Manchester United
Arsenal
England Football
Premier League
Football

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