Roy Hodgson has added two players to his England squad for the upcoming FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying matches against San Marino and Poland. Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand rejoins the squad with two England and four Great Britain caps already to his name, while Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been called up for the first time.
Shelvey, who joined the Reds from Charlton Athletic in 2010, has made a handful of appearances for England at every age group from Under-16s to Under-21s but has progressed quickly, is 20 years old and has become a regular feature of Brendan Rodgers’ team having previously been out on loan at Blackpool. Although Hodgson will inevitably be criticised for his apparent reliance on Liverpool players when others pull out, Shelvey has played well on occasion this season, particularly (from what I’ve seen personally) in cup action.
His call-up is a response to an injury worry for Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, but Lampard has not formally been withdrawn from the squad. It should probably be anticipated, therefore, that he will be fit for the visit to Warsaw to play Poland in eight days.
Bertrand is an altogether more obvious choice in a straight swap for injured and withdrawn Arsenal left back Kieran Gibbs, although it should be questioned again whether England really need three left backs in the squad. Ashley Cole and Leighton Baines are ahead of Bertrand in the pecking order and he is unlikely to see too much of the pitch over the next two games. But having him around as much as possible is a wise move, just as it will be for Gibbs.
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