England call up Oxlade-Chamberlain, Hudson-Odoi and Stones for qualifiers
John Stones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Callum Hudson-Odoi have been included in a 27-man England squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Montenegro and Kosovo but there is still no place for Tottenham’s Dele Alli or for Kyle Walker of Manchester City.
Stones, who missed the matches against the Czech Republic and Bulgaria because of injury, returns in place of Everton’s Michael Keane, with Gareth Southgate naming a larger squad than usual owing to injury concerns over several players.
Ross Barkley is also included despite having only started one of Chelsea’s last four Premier League matches, and there is a first call-up for the 19-year-old forward Hudson-Odoi since he won his first cap against Montenegro in March.
Southgate has included James Maddison despite the controversy surrounding the Leicester midfielder’s casino visit during the last international break.
The manager said of Stones: “It’s good that he’s back up and fit and playing regularly, and he’s obviously one of our most experienced defenders. It’s an area of the pitch where, in terms of caps and experience, we don’t have huge experience, and it’s good to have John back in that mix.”
Southgate has not called up Jack Grealish but said he would be happy to turn to the Aston Villa midfielder if there were withdrawals in that position.
Victory over Montenegro at Wembley would seal qualification in what will be England’s 1,000th international.
The game in Bulgaria was overshadowed by racism which twice brought it to a halt. Reflecting on events in Sofia Southgate said: “I’m sure that any team going through a situation like that, you definitely will feel closer together because of the way that the players spoke with each other during the week and the way that they knew that they backed each other on the night.”