Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge Named in England Squad by Roy Hodgson

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistOctober 3, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 14:  Wayne Rooney of England gestures during the International Friendly match between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium on August 14, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge have been named in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the crucial forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland.

As reported by the FA, Hodgson's 23-man squad sees the return of the two strikers who missed recent games against Moldova and Ukraine:

The England boss will hope all of his players see out the weekend’s Premier League action without injury.

Hodgson's Three Lions are already without right-back Glen Johnson, wingers Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott and forward Andy Carroll, per Martin Lipton of the Mirror.

Although Johnson and Walcott would likely start the forthcoming games, Hodgson will be confident of utilising his squad to ensure two wins in front of the anxious Wembley crowd.

KIEV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 10:  Roy Hodgson the England manager looks on during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between Ukraine and England at the Olympic Stadium on September 10, 2013 in Kiev, Ukraine.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Ross Barkley’s deserved inclusion comes after a string of impressive displays for Everton. The 19-year-old—who made his England debut against Moldova in the last round of fixtures—has scored two goals in six appearances for Roberto Martinez’s side this term, per Whoscored.

The versatile Toffees midfielder offers a physical presence that is suited to bombing up the field and tracking back. Barkley’s dribbling ability and willingness to spray the ball could see him bring an added dimension to England’s attack on the wide Wembley pitch.

Fraser Forster’s fine form for Celtic—he impressed during Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Barcelona—has also seen the goalkeeper rewarded with another call-up. Although he is yet to make his international debut, the 25-year-old stopper has growing claims to a spot as the country’s No. 1.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Joe Hart of Manchester City shows his dissapointment during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and  FC Bayern Munchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by L
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester City’s Joe Hart has been in poor form of late, as highlighted by his dismal performance in the 3-1 loss to Bayern Munich, when he twice let the ball slip inside his near post. However, it is likely he will retain his place after two international clean sheets in September's games.

England must take six points from their final two qualifiers to ensure an automatic place at the 2014 World Cup.

Should the underachieving nation fail to do so, a spot in Brazil can still be achieved via the play-offs, but this qualification route could see England pitted against the likes of France, Portugal or Sweden.

Hodgson will be extremely wary of following in Steve McClaren's footsteps, England's last manager to oversee failure to qualify for a major tournament.

The newly appointed Derby coach was sacked after a demoralising 3-2 home defeat to Croatia, and most notoriously branded the "Wally with the brolly" by the British press.

While two wins at Wembley will be crowned a triumph, England have undoubtedly made hard work of a group that should have been wrapped up by now.