LONDON: Jamie Vardy has been named in England’s 22-man squad for the Euro 2016 qualifying double-header against San Marino and Switzerland.
The Leicester striker in included by manager Roy Hodgson despite his recent fine for using racist language – with Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in the squad almost three years after his one and only cap to date.
Hodgson rewarded Vardy for his impressive form at the end of last season by calling him up to the England squad for the first time.
The 28-year-old came off the bench to make his international debut in England’s 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in June and has scored two Premier League goals so far this season – including a late equalising penalty at Bournemouth on Saturday as the Foxes remain unbeaten under new boss Claudio Ranieri.
Shelvey has also been selected having started the season well and featured in Swansea’s 2-1 win over Manchester United at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Tottenham’s Ryan Mason is another midfield player who will be looking to add to his solitary cap as Hodgson lauded the strength in depth at this disposal.
“On this occasion we are obviously missing some players from the June matches,” he said.
“However this is compensated by the fact we have players who weren’t available over the summer.
“Jonjo Shelvey gets another chance as he has been very impressive since the start of the season whilst Ryan Mason has been unlucky with us – he picked up an injury the last time he was in the England squad.
“This latest squad shows we are working a good number of players with a claim to be England regulars and secure a place in Euro 2016.
“Before that there are two matches we must focus on. The players must keep going, play well and look to win every match. I don’t want any let up and we want to win both these games.”
Leicester hit Vardy with a “substantial” fine and the player issued a public apology after he found himself in trouble when a video was published of him calling a man a “Jap” three times during an argument at a casino.
It is understood that Vardy has since attended a diversity awareness course, organised by the Football Association at Leicester’s request.
Everton defender John Stones, who has been the target of a number of bids from Premier League champions Chelsea, retains his place but there is no room in the squad for Saido Berahino – with the West Brom forward missing out on recent Baggies games after being linked with a move to Tottenham.
Harry Kane returns to the senior squad having turned out for the Under-21s over the summer and joins captain Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott as forward options – with Vardy the only recognised striker to have scored a league goal so far this season.
Full England squad:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Jack Butland, Tom Heaton.
Defenders: Nathaniel Clyne, Luke Shaw, Kieran Gibbs, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling, John Stones, Phil Jagielka.
Midfielders: Michael Carrick, James Milner, Ross Barkley, Jonjo Shelvey, Ryan Mason, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabian Delph.
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Wayne Rooney, Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott.