Wayne Rooney was named in the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Ukraine, but his Manchester United team-mate Ashley Young was omitted.
Rooney missed England’s last two games with a gashed head and was also left out of Manchester United’s Champions League draw against Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday after suffering a shin injury in training.
Club manager David Moyes suggested he was likely to return to face Sunderland in the league on Saturday.
Daniel Sturridge also returns after injury, while Ross Barkley;s impressive form for Everton earned him a call-up.
There was no place, though, for Young, who has been out of form all season. “I don’t like to use the word ‘dropped’,” said manager Roy Hodgson. “He just fell outside the 23, I guess ...” Hodgson also insisted he had faith in goalkeeper Joe Hart despite two errors in Manchester City’s defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Wednesday, indicating that he will stick with him rather than handing debut to Celtic’s Fraser Forster.
“Goalkeepers are always in the firing line when it comes to criticism,” Hodgson said. “I believe Joe will shrug this off. He’s never let me down.
“(Forster) has a great future. It would be a mistake to suggest he should be given responsibility going into two important games.” Two wins will guarantee England’s place in Brazil next summer, but they lead Montenegro and Ukraine by just a point with Poland two points further back.
England squad: Goalkeepers: Hart (Manchester City), Forster (Celtic), Ruddy (Norwich) Defenders: Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Jagielka (Everton), Jones (Manchester Utd), Smalling (Manchester Utd), Walker (Tottenham) Midfielders: Barkley (Everton), Carrick (Manchester Utd), Cleverley (Manchester Utd), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Manchester City), Townsend (Tottenham), Wilshere (Arsenal) Forwards: Defoe (Tottenham), Lambert (Southampton), Rooney (Manchester Utd), Sturridge (Liverpool), Welbeck (Manchester Utd)