Wilshere returns for England, Gerrard set to win 100th cap
Roy Hodgson has wasted no time in bringing Jack Wilshere back into the England fold.
Seventeen months after winning the last of his five caps, against Switzerland at Wembley, Wilshere has been included in Hodgson’s 23-man squad for the friendly with Sweden in Stockholm next Wednesday.
Wilshere has made only three appearances for Arsenal since returning from a catalogue of injuries.
However, with last weekend’s dismissal at Manchester United meaning the 20-year-old must sit out Arsenal’s Barclays Premier League encounter with Fulham at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, Hodgson has opted to select Wilshere despite Arsene Wenger cautioning against such a move earlier this week.
As expected, England will be captained by Steven Gerrard, who will become only the sixth player in England history to reach 100 caps if he plays.
The other member of the 99-cap club, Ashley Cole, is among those who miss out through injury, with Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard and Manchester City trio Jack Rodwell, Joleon Lescott and James Milner also sidelined.
Although Hodgson stated last month that Arsenal’s Carl Jenkinson would be in his squad for the Sweden encounter, the full-back misses out, with both Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker selected.
Steven Caulker, Ryan Shawcross and Ryan Bertrand are the uncapped defenders named, although all have been in past squads.
The same is also true of Liverpool teenager Raheem Sterling, although his presence ahead of the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine in September was only as a very late call-up.
This time, the 17-year-old is included on merit from the outset after an outstanding season with Liverpool so far.
He will be joined at the Lowry Hotel in Manchester on Sunday evening by Reds team-mate Jonjo Shelvey, who made his senior debut in the 5-0 hammering of San Marino last month.
The only completely new face is Everton’s Leon Osman, who at 31 is finally rewarded for his consistency in the Blues’ surge up the Premier League table.
Ashley Young, who has missed all England’s qualification games so far this season after appearing in the August friendly win over Italy in Berne, is back following his recovery from a knee injury.
However, Gareth Barry, his one-time team-mate at Aston Villa, is overlooked.
Hodgson has opted to select just three orthodox strikers, with Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge chosen along with Wayne Rooney, who became England’s fifth-highest goalscorer last month.