Uncapped Antonio wins England call-up

Michail Antonio

Uncapped West Ham winger Michail Antonio has been called up to manager Sam Allardyce’s first England squad.

Manchester United’s Luke Shaw has also been selected for the World Cup qualifier in Slovakia on 4 September.

It is the full-back’s first call-up since breaking his leg last season, and he joins Manchester City’s out-of-favour keeper Joe Hart in the squad.

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater are recalled, having missed out on a place at Euro 2016.

Everton captain Phil Jagielka has been selected, but club-mate Ross Barkley and Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere miss out.

Antonio, who joined West Ham from Nottingham Forest in September 2015, began his career in non-league football with Tooting and Mitcham United.

“I think he’s in outstanding form,” Allardyce told the FA website. “This is another lad with a great journey – it’s a fantastic journey that he’s been on, from non-league to now an international call-up.

“He scored nine goals in his first season and he’s a terrific athlete, a good crosser and a goalscorer.”

Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney, who also led the national side under Roy Hodgson, has been named in the 23-man squad.

England squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Tom Heaton (Burnley).

Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur).

Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Michail Antonio (West Ham United), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal).

Strikers: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

Wayne Rooney<!–

Analysis

Chief football writer Phil McNulty:

Allardyce has yet to announce his captain but Rooney is expected to keep the armband despite England’s dismal showing at Euro 2016.

There is a shock exclusion, with Everton’s Ross Barkley missing out despite looking fitter and rejuvenated under new manager Ronald Koeman this season, with two goals already and the reward of the captaincy for last Tuesday’s 4-0 EFL Cup win over Yeovil Town. The decision will be a bitter blow to the 22-year-old.

Barkley did not get any game time in France this summer and would have been hoping for a fresh start under Allardyce after Hodgson’s departure, although there is a more pleasant surprise for Everton with the return of 34-year-old captain Phil Jagielka after he missed out on Euro 2016.

Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, whose selection for France despite a lack of match fitness was a gamble that backfired horribly on Hodgson, is left out but again there is better news for the Gunners with a recall for Theo Walcott, an absentee in France.

Walcott remains an unfulfilled talent at England level and this perhaps represents an unexpected chance, although Allardyce has always been an advocate of speed and width, which he provides.

It is hardly a revolutionary squad from Allardyce but certainly one that will provoke plenty of debate.

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