LONDON: Uncapped midfielders Ross Barkley of Everton and Andros Townsend of Tottenham have been called into the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers early next month home to Moldova and away to Ukraine.
England manager Roy Hodgson said: “We want to win. Players like Barkley, Townsend and Sterling can make a difference.” Southampton striker Rickie Lambert is retained after scoring a first-touch winner earlier this month against Scotland.
In-form Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge returns after injury, while uncapped Celtic keeper Fraser Forster replaces injured West Bromwich Albion keeper Ben Foster.
Hodgson was impressed with 19-year-old Barkley when he took charge of the under-21s for their recent 6-0 win against Scotland.
Barkley played for England at the Under-20 World Cup and scored a superb goal at Norwich on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Townsend, who impressed during a loan spell at Queens Park Rangers last season, is selected three months after being punished by the FA for betting breaches which cost him a place at the European Under-21 Championship.
Hodgson said: “Barkley impressed me when I worked with him at St George’s and at Sheffield Wednesday, and quite a few other people impressed at that that time – Raheem Sterling and of course Andros Townsend, who was on the radar before the Under-21s.
“In choosing these players we are giving ourselves a chance to look at players who are capable of having a bright future. They can be players who make a big impact and help you to win. They’re there on merit.
“But players need to understand the doors open at senior level, but you don’t close the door on under-21.”
England take on Moldova at Wembley on September 6, before travelling to Kiev to face Ukraine on September 10.
Hodgson’s side are second in Group H, two points behind Montenegro with a game in hand. England also face Montenegro at Wembley on 11 October and Poland at home on 15 October.
The winners of each of the nine groups qualify automatically with the best eight runners-up contesting play-offs over two legs to determine four more qualifiers for Brazil 2014.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster, Joe Hart, John Ruddy
Defenders: Leighton Baines, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Phil Jagielka, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere
Strikers: Jermain Defoe, Rickie Lambert, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young.