Gareth Southgate has announced his first England starting squad for games against Germany and Lithuania, since signing his permanent appointment back in November.
As expected there were a few shock announcements for the matches that will take place next week Jermain Defoe being one of them, after previously being left out by Sam Allardyce and who has not played for the Three Lions since 2013.
But the 34-year-old has been recalled because of his fine form for Premier League strugglers Sunderland this season, scoring 14 league goals out of their 24.
“His goalscoring record speaks for itself, he’s a finisher,” Southgate said.
“He’s played at nearly every age group for England.
“I didn’t want age to be a barrier for someone coming in.
“Someone with his experience and goalscoring record is important for us. We can’t just look at young players.”
Having said that, there is a youthful element to team with James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond receiving their first England call-ups, while Michail Antonio, Jesse Lingard and Michael Keane will all be given another chance to impress former Under-21 boss Southgate.
Marcus Rashford has also been named in the senior squad as Southgate struggles with defence. Tottenham striker Harry Kane looks to be facing around six weeks out with ankle ligament damage and Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge having not played since February 4 due to illness and a hip complaint.
Both West Bromwich Albion midfielder Jake Livermore and Manchester United’s Luke Shaw are surprise additions.
England captain Wayne Rooney is also out with a knee injury but the England manager hinted during the press conference his absence may not be entirely down to injury.
England’s 26 Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Hart, Forster, Heaton
Defenders: Bertrand, Cahill, Clyne, Jones, Keane, Smalling, Stones, Shaw, Walker
Midfielders: Antonio, Alli, Barkley, Dier, Lallana, Lingard, Livermore, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Redmond, Sterling, Ward-Prowse
Strikers: Defoe, Rashford, Vardy