Jermain Defoe called up to England squad by Gareth Southgate for games with Germany and Lithuania

Ed Malyon
The Independent
Defoe hasn't played for England since 2013
Defoe hasn't played for England since 2013

Gareth Southgate has recalled Jermain Defoe to the England squad, handing him a chance to make his first international appearance since 2013.

The Sunderland centre-forward has been in form, scoring 14 league goals this term, but was even overlooked by former England boss Sam Allardyce who had been his coach at club level as he fired the Black Cats to safety last season.

But Southgate, weakened by the injury to Harry Kane, has opted to hand Defoe another chance with the Three Lions.

And it was a call-up that caught the forward off-guard.

“It was funny," said Defoe, "a message popped up on my iPhone. You don't see the full message. It was from a Gareth. I don't know a Gareth! Who's this?

“I put my phone down. Then looked at it: 'Hello Jermain it is Gareth Southgate. Can I give you a call when you are free and have a chat. How do you feel about England?

“We had a good chat. A nice guy. Someone I used to play against.

"I said you used to kick me. So we had a laugh about that. A genuinely nice man and I've always had respect for him.”

At 34 years old, this is hardly a look to the future from the rookie England boss.

But with Marcus Rashford also handed a call-up, there is a youthful element to the striking corps too as the squad prepares for a World Cup qualifier against Lithuania and a friendly against the World Cup-winning Germans in Dortmund.

Defoe has been overlooked since 2014 despite a glut of goals for Sunderland (Getty)
Defoe has been overlooked since 2014 despite a glut of goals for Sunderland (Getty)

Defoe made his England debut in 2004, and he pulled on the shirt every year for the next decade netting 19 goals in 55 caps. He was called up for the game with Denmark in March of 2014 but didn't make it off the bench and was then left out of the squad for the World Cup in Brazil that summer.

He would later reveal that he "likely won’t ever get over the decision", adding, "I don't think I’ll ever be at peace with it."

A return to the set-up, albeit in the autumn of his career, may go some way to mending that pain.

A chance for youngsters to shine

James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond received 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.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw, two young faces that are comparative veterans, are also included despite irregular minutes at club level for the Manchester United left-back.

Jake Livermore is also in.

Notable ommisions

Arsenal pair Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott both miss out, while Andy Carroll, Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane were expected to be out due to injury. Walcott has 17 goals in all competitions this season, more than any other player to have been selected.

Jack Wilshere, currently battling for a place in the Bournemouth side but tipped for a call-up, is overlooked in favour of Livermore.

England squad in full

Goalkeepers: Hart, Heaton, Forster

Defenders: Bertrand, Cahill, Clyne, Jones, Keane, Shaw, Smalling, Stones, Walker

Midfielders: Alli, Antonio, Barkley, Dier, Lallana, Lingard, Livermore, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling, Ward-Prowse

Forwards: Redmond, Defoe, Rashford, Vardy.

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