Fabio Capello has included injury doubt Gareth Barry and the recently recovered Joe Cole in England’s squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, but overlooked Michael Dawson, Tom Huddlestone, Scott Parker, Adam Johnson, Darren Bent and, unexpectedly, Leighton Baines and Theo Walcott.
Call-ups were also handed to versatile defender Jamie Carragher, who recently came out of international retirement, centre-back Ledley King, once-capped left-back Stephen Warnock, midfielder Michael Carrick, right-wingers Shaun Wright-Phillips and Aaron Lennon, and forwards Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe.
Barry suffered ankle ligament damage in Manchester City’s defeat by Tottenham Hotspur early last month. The midfielder passed a series of intense fitness tests in London this morning, however, and although he is unlikely to be ready for the curtain-raiser against USA on 12 June, indications are that he could be available to start the Three Lions’ remaining Group C games against Algeria and Slovenia.
Joe Cole endured an injury-ravaged 2009/10 season and although named in England’s provisional 30-man squad last month, was initially an outsider to make the final 23. The inventive 28-year-old nevertheless starred as a second-half substitute against Japan on Sunday, which appears to have convinced Capello to take him to his third FIFA World Cup.
The omission of Walcott came as a significant surprise. The Arsenal winger, who was included in England’s squad for Germany 2006 having failed to make a single appearance in the Premier League, started the recent victories over Mexico and Japan. Moreover, the 21-year-old memorably scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 victory in Croatia that put his country firmly en route to a place at South Africa 2010.
Walcott admitted he was "very disappointed" to have missed out, but added: "I would like to wish the team the best of luck and hope they have a really successful tournament."
Left-winger Johnson was another left disappointed. The 22-year-old was playing for Middlesbrough in the Championship until early February, but excelled in the Premier League after joining Manchester City thereafter. He also impressed during England training sessions and as a late substitute in their 3-1 victory over Mexico in what was his one and only international appearance to date.
Dawson, Warnock and Parker were expected to miss out after failing to receive any playing time over the two recent warm-up matches, as was Bent, who disappointed during a 45-minute run-out against the Samurai Blue.
England squadGoalkeepers: Joe Hart, David James, Robert Green.
Defenders: Jamie Carragher, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Ledley King, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Midfielders: Gareth Barry, Michael Carrick, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Forwards: Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.
*Please note that squad lists only become official after they have been submitted to and announced by FIFA.