Ryan Shawcross and Leighton Baines were the two new names included in the England squad when Fabio Capello announced his selection on Saturday night for this week’s game against Egypt.
Just hours earlier the Stoke City defender had hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons when he left the field in tears after having been sent off for a challenge which broke Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey’s right leg.
Everton’s Baines was included alongside Aston Villa’s Stephen Warnock to compete for the left-back spot left vacant by Ashley Cole’s injury and Wayne Bridge’s decision to make himself unavailable for the national side.
Elsewhere there were recalls for Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing, but once again there was no room for Joe Cole.
Joe Hart, fresh from yet another clean sheet on Saturday, was named as one of the three goalkeepers as expected, and many will now tip him to start on Wednesday night and add to his single cap at this level.
Rob Green is picked once again, and David James is recalled after missing out on the previous squad through injury.
Baines and Warnock were selected as expected in the absence of Cole and Bridge, whilst Shawcross’ selection was more surprising, but not totally unexpected as Capello was forced to call up a new fourth-choice centre-back due to injuries as previewed on Friday.
Shawcross, 22, won two caps for the Under-21 side under Stuart Pearce and also previously represented Wales at Under-15 level on the basis of residence.
Wes Brown is named as the only right-back in the squad, which surely ends the World Cup hopes of Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Micah Richards, who might have competed as backup in the absence of Glen Johnson in that position.
Stewart Downing is named in an England squad for the first time in 11 months. The left-winger has successfully returned from an ankle injury which saw him miss the beginning of the season, and Capello obviously believes he can contribute something to the group as a more natural option on the left-hand side of midfield.
Theo Walcott is also selected for the first time this season. Aaron Lennon misses out through injury, and it will be curious to see if Capello opts for both in his final squad if they are both fit.
Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, and Ashley Young all drop out of the squad from the Brazil game last November as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, and David Beckham all return.
Up front, there is no place this time for Sunderland’s Darren Bent, and Capello has opted to recall Carlton Cole and Emile Heskey, who both missed out through injury last time.
They are joined by Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, and Wayne Rooney, although the Manchester United star may be forced to withdraw from the squad with a knee injury.
Rooney scored the winner in yesterday’s Carling Cup Final despite starting the game on the bench and will join up with the England squad this morning although Sir Alex Ferguson has already advised that the forward may miss out on Wednesday’s game after suffering a kick to an already troubled knee.
24-man England squad for friendly against Egypt
Goalkeepers: Rob Green (West Ham United), Joe Hart (Manchester City, on loan at Birmingham City), David James (Portsmouth)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Aston Villa), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Ryan Shawcross (Stoke City), John Terry (Chelsea), Matt Upson (West Ham United), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), David Beckham (LA Galaxy, on loan at AC Milan), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Aston Villa), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
Forwards: Carlton Cole (West Ham United), Peter Crouch (Tottenham Hotspurs), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspurs), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)