Rooney, Sturridge named in England squad
Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney
Roy Hodgson has named Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge in the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.
Sturridge missed the last two qualifiers against Moldova and Ukraine through injury while Rooney missed Manchester United’s Champions clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday night after suffering a kick on his shin by Danny Welbeck in training on Tuesday.
But Sturridge has been flying for Liverpool in recent weeks and United manager David Moyes confirmed following the Red Devils’ 1-1 draw that Rooney is likely to feature against Sunderland in the Premier League on Saturday.
Hodgson confirmed he was confident Rooney would be fit to join up with the squad.
“We are reliably informed that it’s not a serious injury and it won’t stop him joining up with us,” Hodgson told a press conference.
Rooney and Sturridge have scored 12 goals in 15 matches between them this season, and they are both almost sure to start against Montenegro if they come through their club games this weekend.
Rooney, Sturridge, Phil Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all injured for the goalless draw against Ukraine last month and Danny Welbeck missed out through suspension.
All of those players except Oxlade-Chamberlain are available now although Theo Walcott is missing after undergoing stomach surgery.
Southampton striker Rickie Lambert retains his place in the squad while Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster has earned a recall as competition for Joe Hart following his heroics against Barcelona in the Champions League on Tuesday.
The Three Lions are one point ahead of Ukraine and Montenegro so only two wins will guarantee Hodgson’s men automatic entry to the finals next summer.
Ukraine is expected to win their final two qualifiers against Poland at home and San Marino away, so in all likelihood if England collects four points, they will be destined for the play-offs.
If they fail to win against Montenegro a week on Friday, and Poland four days later, then their World Cup dreams will almost certainly be over.
Ordinarily, England would be expected to win at home against both nations, but their only qualification victories so far have come against one of the world’s lowest-ranked teams in San Marino and against Moldova, who are sandwiched between Tanzania and Guyana at 129th in the rankings.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United).