Fabio Capello has handed 33-year-old Kevin Davies a hugely unexpected maiden England call-up for their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley, and named Wayne Rooney, who has missed Manchester United’s last two matches with an ankle problem, in his squad. The Italian also included Rio Ferdinand and John Terry after the centre-backs missed the defeats of Bulgaria and Switzerland through injury, while Robert Green, Stephen Warnock, Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon, Joe Cole and Jack Wilshere have also earned recalls.
James Milner, who has made an impressive start to life at Manchester City following a £26m close-season move from Aston Villa, is suspended, while Matthew Upson, Leighton Baines and Carlton Cole were left out.
With forwards Jermain Defoe and Bobby Zamora sidelined, Capello was expected to summon hulking striker Andy Carroll, who was omitted from the England U-21s last week to supposedly pave the way for a senior call-up. However, the broad-shouldered, 6ft-3ins striker, who hit four goals in newly-promoted Newcastle United’s first six games of the Premier League season, was surprisingly left out of Chris Hughton’s starting XI for yesterday’s 2-1 loss at Manchester City.
Capello duly asked Emile Heskey to come out of international retirement, but the Aston Villa man declined. The former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach therefore turned to Davies, another burly target man, who has two goals in seven outings for Bolton Wanderers to his name this term.
Wilshere was named in Stuart Pearce’s squad for England’s UEFA European U-21 Championship qualifying play-off against Romania, but the 18-year-old playmaker’s arresting form for Arsenal prompted Capello to return him to his senior squad.
The Three Lions will entertain Zlatko Kranjcar’s team in a top-of-the-section clash at Wembley on 12 October. The two sides have taken maximum points from their opening two Group G games: England followed up a 4-0 victory over visiting Bulgaria with a 3-1 success in Switzerland, while Montenegro beat Wales 1-0 at home before winning by the same score in Sofia.
Capello said of his side’s forthcoming opponents: "I saw these two games that they played, they played very well and are a dangerous team. They defend well and are really compact, they play the counter-attack really, really fast. The quality of the forwards is really good.”
Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Birmingham City), Robert Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Defenders: Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), John Terry (Chelsea), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Joe Cole (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin Davies (Bolton Wanderers), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).