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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Hodgson has confidence in uncapped trio

England manager Roy Hodgson has every confidence uncapped trio Tom Heaton, Jamie Vardy and Charlie Austin can make an impact on the national team having been called up for the first time.

With the likes of Harry Kane, Danny Ings and Saido Berahino all set to feature for the Under-21s at the European Championships this summer, Hodgson has opted to use the friendly against the Republic of Ireland on June 7 and the Euro 2016 qualifier in Slovenia to take a look at some players who had been in his thinking over the course of the season.

Austin scored 17 goals for QPR, but could not keep the west London club in the Barclays Premier League, while Vardy struck three times in his last nine games to help Leicester complete their unlikely escape from relegation.

Goalkeeper Heaton, meanwhile, has performed well for Burnley this term even though they were relegated from the top flight two weeks ago.

PLEASED

Hodgson at Wembley said: "I am pleased (Under-21 manager) Gareth (Southgate) has cleared up any doubts as to who would be available for the seniors and the Under-21s. I'm very pleased with the squad we've been able to put together here, I think it's a very strong squad.

"In particular I'm very pleased to welcome three people who haven't been with us before but who get the chance, to some extent because of the Under-21s, because quite often we've used some of those players in our squad and it's given them the opportunity.

"It is a good opportunity for them to come and show us what they can do, and I don't think anyone would deny them the right to be there because they have had good seasons with their clubs, often in difficult situations," he added.

Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck is included despite concerns over his knee injury and Wayne Rooney is selected even though he missed Manchester United's draw against the Gunners last week with a dead leg.

CONFLICT

There is, though, no place for midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is sidelined by a hamstring problem and could miss the FA Cup final on May 30.

Hodgson insisted there was "literally no conflict whatsoever" between himself and Southgate over the Under-21s' selections.

"There was never any doubt in my mind, if he wanted these players they would go with him," the England manager said.

Hodgson has opted against calling-up Ashley Young despite the winger's excellent recent form for Manchester United.

The England manager has retained Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason, who made his debut against Italy in March, and Southampton's Ryan Bertrand keeps his place in the squad as Everton's Leighton Baines is injured.

Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph keeps his place and is likely to feature in the double-header as Michael Carrick is absent with a calf injury.

Raheem Sterling, whose future has become the source of much debate recently, is included in the 24-man party.

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