England manager Gareth Southgate has handed first call-ups to uncapped duo Harry Maguire and Nathaniel Chalobah for next month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovakia.
In the first England squad since Wayne Rooney’s international retirement, Southgate named Leicester defender Maguire and Watford midfielder Chalobah in a 28-man group to face Malta and Slovakia in World Cup qualifiers on September 1 and 4 respectively.
Southgate had asked Rooney to join the squad, but the Everton striker, who is England’s all-time leading scorer, on Wednesday announced he has decided to call time on his international career at the age of 31.
Southgate is relishing the chance to see more of Maguire as injury prevented him being called up for England’s World Cup qualifying draw against Scotland and friendly defeat by France at the end of last season.
Maguire is in his first season with Leicester after leaving Hull and Southgate said: “I thought his performances for Hull were very good. He’s a defender that’s very comfortable with the ball and that’s the profile of international football.
“I think he’s already adjusted really well at Leicester to a new club. He plays with great composure and can defend the ball in the box.
“So I think it’s a really good opportunity for us to have a look at him… for him to get a feel of being around the senior squad and we can assess how he goes in training and that sort of thing.
“As you say, we were looking at him towards the end of last season but he wasn’t really fully fit towards the end of the year.”
Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck returns to the squad having not appeared since a win over Germany in March 2016, but Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana misses out due to injury.
Southgate has also named four goalkeepers in his squad, with Everton’s Jordan Pickford joining Joe Hart, Jack Butland and Tom Heaton.
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (West Ham), Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Harry Maguire (Leicester), John Stones (Man City), Michael Keane (Everton), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), Kyle Walker (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Eric Dier (Tottenham), Nathaniel Chalobah (Watford), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Dele Alli (Tottenham), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd)
Forwards: Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jermaine Defoe (Bournemouth)
Rooney is England’s all-time leading scorer.