Rashford and Townsend get England call-ups

LONDON • Manchester United's teenage sensation Marcus Rashford and Newcastle United winger Andros Townsend were named in a provisional 26-man England squad for Euro 2016 yesterday.

The uncapped Rashford, 18, has burst onto the scene with United this season, scoring seven goals in 16 games, while Townsend, who won the last of his 10 England caps in October, has impressed since joining Newcastle United from Tottenham Hotspur in January.

Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson were both included after recent spells on the sidelines, but there was no place for Wilshere's club-mate Theo Walcott.

Explaining Rashford's call-up, England manager Roy Hodgson told a press conference at Wembley: "He deserves to be selected. It'll be interesting to see what he can do, even if he only has one week (in training) before I name the final 23.

"There's no reason why he couldn't knock someone off their perch (and earn a place in the final squad). But that will be harder than some people expect."

  • Provisional squad

    Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Joe Hart (Manchester City)

    Defenders: Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker, Danny Rose (Tottenham), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool)

    Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier (Tottenham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph, Raheem Sterling (Man City), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester), Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, James Milner (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Newcastle), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)

    Forwards: Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford (Man United), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Jamie Vardy (Leicester), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool)

Hodgson must reduce his squad to 23 players for the tournament in France, which sees England drawn alongside Slovakia, Russia and neighbours Wales in Group B.

Arsenal pair Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck had already been ruled out of the tournament by injury, while United left-back Luke Shaw has not returned to action since suffering a double leg break last September.

Everton centre-back Phil Jagielka was another high-profile absentee, having struggled with injury in recent months, while there was an unexpected inclusion for Manchester City midfielder Fabian Delph.

United midfielder Michael Carrick, Everton left-back Leighton Baines and in-form Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe all missed out.

On his decision to select Townsend over Walcott, Hodgson said: "They're both good players. They're very different players. They play in wide positions, but they're not similar players.

"Andros was unlucky to lose his place when he was not getting a regular place. He's done very well at Newcastle. Theo has not had such regular games and has had a tough time with injuries."

Walcott, who sat out Arsenal's 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday with a slight hamstring injury, was also omitted from Hodgson's squad for the 2014 World Cup.

He reacted on Twitter, writing: "I am of course disappointed not to make the squad, but I have spoken with Roy and I respect his decision."

England begin their final preparations for the Euro with a friendly against Turkey in Manchester on Sunday and will also tackle Australia and Portugal before departing for France early next month.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2016, with the headline 'Rashford and Townsend get England call-ups'. Print Edition | Subscribe