England Squad to Play Denmark: Luke Shaw, Raheem Sterling Named by Roy Hodgson

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2014

Roy Hodgson has named Southampton youngster Luke Shaw and high-flying Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling in his England squad to face Denmark, as reported by the FA's official Twitter account:

Shaw receives his first international call-up after a plethora of excellent performances for the Saints across the last two seasons. He joins up with the 30-man squad at the age of 18 and will now challenge the likes of Leighton Baines, Ashley Cole and the injured Kieran Gibbs for a place at left-back.

Southampton provided fascinating footage of the moment he got the call:

Sterling was left out of the Three Lions' recent squad to face Germany and returns after a burst of devastating form for Liverpool.

The 19-year-old has contributed five goals and three assists to a Reds side that has notched a Premier League high of 70 goals this season, working to devastating effect alongside England teammate Daniel Sturridge, per WhoScored.com.

Sterling has just one England cap to his name heading into the upcoming World Cup warm-up match. That came against Sweden in November 2012, an encounter famed for Zlatan Ibrahimovic's memorable overhead kick.

Jay Rodriguez, Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana are included once again, joining Shaw to confirm a quartet of international call-ups for Southampton. Former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns after hitting decent form upon his injury return at Arsenal.

Sterling is one of five Liverpool players in the squad, alongside Glen Johnson, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and skipper Steven Gerrard.

Everton's Ross Barkley maintains his place in the squad, but there's no room for his club teammate Gareth Barry, who is overlooked after a consistent run of form for the Toffees.

Jermain Defoe can be considered a surprise inclusion at this point, especially considering the Tottenham striker has only played four minutes since scoring against Crystal Palace on Jan. 11, as reported by WhoScored.com, and is moving to MLS side Toronto FC imminently.

Elsewhere, Wayne Rooney leads a list of forwards that also includes Danny Welbeck, while Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Frank Lampard and Jack Wilshere provide options in central midfield.

Hodgson's developmental squad will allow the manager to begin whittling down who he will take to Brazil. The meticulous coach must name a final selection of 23 for the summer festivities and recently suggested his increased squad size arrives with the World Cup in mind.

"We want to introduce some of the ideas that we've got for Brazil," said Hodgson, per Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail.

England's personnel certainly highlights a nation in transition. Fans and local media should be excited by the amount of young talent progressing through the ranks without pressuring the team with replicating the World Cup win of 1966.

Previous England sides have crumbled under the weight of expectation, but as matches against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica await in Brazil, Hodgson will receive a decent assessment of how the country is progressing against Morten Olsen's testing Denmark team.

 

 

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