Johnson returns to U21 fold

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Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson has been recalled to the England Under-21 squad for clashes against Portugal and Lithuania but Theo Walcott and Jack Wilshere look set to miss at least the first qualifier of the double header.

Coach Stuart Pearce has left out injured Arsenal duo Walcott and Wilshere from the squad that defeated Macedonia last month, although their fitness will be monitored and they could still figure during the international break.

Pearce, ahead of the European Championship qualifiers against Portugal at Wembley on November 14 and Lithuania three days later, said: "Jack came in at the start of this season with a substitute appearance in Holland and has since had a couple of starts doing very well in each game, so he'll be disappointed he's missed this one that's for sure."

He added: "I'd think anyone that's unfortunate enough to miss out in this squad will be very disappointed. But we'll be monitoring Jack and Theo's situations. If they recover a little bit quicker than expected, then we might review the squad, but it's a shame for them.

"On the other side of things, Michael Johnson has had a massive absence from injury for a long, long time, so being in the squad will be a big lift for him."

Aston Villa youngster Fabien Delph has been included after missing out previously, while Johnson's call-up comes after the 21-year-old recovered from a long-term abdominal problem that limited him to eight City appearances last term.

He could make his third appearance for the Under-21s, 15 months after his last cap.

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Manchester City
Michael Johnson
Premier League
Stuart Pearce
Aston Villa
Michael Johnson
Jack Wilshere
Theo Walcott

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