England call-up for Kirkland


  • Other Sport
  • Monday, 18 Aug 2003

LONDON: Uncapped Liverpool goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was named on Saturday in the England squad for next week’s friendly against Croatia but Everton striker Wayne Rooney was left out due to injury. 

Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson also opted not to call up Chelsea’s teenage right back Glen Johnson for the game at Ipswich’s Portman Road ground on Wednesday. The 18-year-old was named in the Under-21 squad instead. 

However midfielder Joe Cole, who like Johnson moved from West Ham to Chelsea in the close season, was included, together with fellow Chelsea players John Terry, Wayne Bridge and Frank Lampard. 

Teenager Rooney, the talk of English football last season, came on as a substitute in Everton’s opening game of the new campaign, a 2-1 defeat by Arsenal at Highbury, on Saturday. 

Eriksson was present at the game but the 17-year-old, who is recovering from an ankle injury suffered in pre-season, did not look fully fit. 

Everton manager David Moyes told reporters after the game: “If he had been fit he would have started. I think he needs another week at least and probably a reserve game but I’m not the England manager, I don’t make those decisions.” 

Kirkland, 22, will compete with West Ham’s David James and Leeds United’s Paul Robinson for the number one jersey. 

Eriksson included only three strikers in the 24-man squad – Liverpool pair Michael Owen and Emile Heskey and Southampton’s James Beattie. 

Captain David Beckham was named as expected, even though he is still in pre-season training with his new Spanish club, Real Madrid. 

Notable omissions included Middlesbrough defender Gareth Southgate and Newcastle United midfielder Jermaine Jenas. 

Manchester United defender Gary Neville missed out due to injury but his brother Phil was included. Aston Villa striker Darius Vassell was another injured absentee. 

The game is being used by Eriksson to examine his options before the two Euro 2004 qualifiers away to Macedonia on Sept 6 and against Liechtenstein at Old Trafford four days later. – Reuters 

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