LONDON: England manager Gareth Southgate has recalled Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins for this month’s games against Australia and Italy at Wembley.

Watkins, who last featured for England in March 2022, continued his impressive start to the season with a hat-trick against Brighton on Saturday. Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling is left out of a fourth successive squad.

West Ham forward Jarrod Bowen returns after missing out on September’s matches against Ukraine and Scotland.

England play Australia in a friendly on October 13 and Italy in a Euro 2024 qualifier on October 17.

Watkins, 27, said he did not think he could “do any more” to earn a recall after taking his tally to seven goals and three assists in 11 games this season.

“Ollie has definitely improved under (Villa manager) Unai Emery,” Southgate said.

“Ollie got a timely hat-trick at the weekend. But it’s not just because of that – because you have to be very careful on picking players on one or two performances – but we have worked with him before and we really like him.”

Bukayo Saka, also included, is still being assessed after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta described the winger’s latest injury – a muscular problem which forced him off after 34 minutes against Lens on Tuesday – as “a worry”.

Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale keeps his England place despite being demoted to Arteta’s second-choice goalkeeper behind David Raya.

“We have to monitor that as we move further down the line, but we are very happy with Aaron and we think it’s the right thing to be with us,” Southgate said.

England’s perfect Euro 2024 qualifying record was ended by a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in September, which they followed with a 3-1 friendly win over Scotland.

Having received their first call-ups to the England squad for September’s fixtures, Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah and Chelsea centre-back Levi Colwill have been selected again.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson, who joined Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq from Liverpool in July, has been recalled, with Southgate describing him as “a senior player who is very important to us”.

“His level of performance, his leadership around the group [and] midfield areas, we were very happy with over the last six games,” Southgate added.

“We do have to see how the season plays out, but we need three points to qualify for a European Championship.”

Manchester United defender Harry Maguire retains his place in the squad despite making only start this season, in a 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace last week.

England are six points clear at the top of Group C, although second-placed Italy have a game in hand.

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples in their opening qualifier in March.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Levi Colwill, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Eddie Nketiah, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins.