England coach Fabio Capello has decided against gambling on the fitness of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard after leaving the duo out of his squad for Friday's crucial UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against Montenegro.
Capello's side need a draw in Podgorica to book their place at next year's European Championship finals in the Ukraine and Poland and the Italian was not willing to risk Gerrard or Ferdinand breaking down after the pair's long battles against injury.
Liverpool midfielder Gerrard had already said he did not believe he was fit enough to be involved after making just three substitute appearances this season following a slow recovery from groin surgery. Manchester United defender Ferdinand, meanwhile, was a surprise absence after shaking off the hamstring strain he suffered at West Bromwich Albion in August.
Bolton Wanderers defender Gary Cahill started alongside John Terry in central defence for the recent qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales and has retained his place, along with United's Phil Jones.
Tottenham Hotspur forward Jermain Defoe and Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott have lost their places, with Fulham striker Bobby Zamora and goalkeeper Scott Carson recalled to a 24-man squad. Zamora's only previous cap came in a friendly against Hungary in August last year, while the 30-year-old was also an unused substitute for the June qualifier against Switzerland.
He scored in Fulham's 6-0 win over Queens Park Rangers on Sunday and will compete with Aston Villa's Darren Bent, Liverpool's Andy Carroll and Manchester United youngster Danny Welbeck for a place alongside Wayne Rooney in England's attack.
Capello has picked United winger Ashley Young even though he was left out of the Norwich City match due to an ankle injury. There is also a call-up for Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker, who scored his side's winner in the north London derby against Arsenal on Sunday.
Goalkeepers: Scott Carson (Bursaspor), Joe Hart (Man City), David Stockdale (Ipswich)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Micah Richards (Man City), John Terry (capt, Chelsea), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Man City), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Man City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Man City), Scott Parker (Tottenham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Man Utd)
Forwards: Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Man Utd), Bobby Zamora (Fulham)