LONDON (Reuters) - England caretaker manager Gareth Southgate has recalled Marcus Rashford and included the uncapped Jesse Lingard in his first squad for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia after stepping in for the sacked Sam Allardyce.
Right back Glen Johnson returns for the first time since the 2014 World Cup while forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is recalled after a year’s absence and Ryan Bertrand is also back in the squad named on Sunday, among five changes from the win in Slovakia.
Southgate has been put in charge for four matches after Allardyce, was sacked after just 67 days in the job for behaving “inappropriately” as he sought a lucrative sideline role while talking to undercover reporters in a national newspaper sting.
“We’ve tried to keep some continuity from last month because my view would be that there are a lot of things that have been going right,” Southgate told the FA website (www.thefa.com).
“There are obviously a couple of players that I’ve worked with in the Under-21s with Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who we think are exciting young players who we wanted to put in this squad,” added Southgate, who is also the under-21 coach.
”We’ve had a few people unavailable through injury like Harry Kane and (goalkeeper) Jack Butland, and we’ve lost a couple over the weekend in Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne while Luke Shaw isn’t quite back fit yet.
“That’s had a bearing on the squad.”
A late Lallana strike gave England victory in Slovakia under Allardyce, whose reign was the shortest for an England manager.
“It’s obviously been a difficult week in a number of ways, however we are in a position now where it’s important to get the squad named,” said Southgate.
“I‘m looking forward now to working with the players because it’s important that we build on the performance and the result against Slovakia.”
England host Malta on Saturday before facing Slovenia the following Tuesday. Southgate will also be in charge at home to Scotland in a third World Cup qualifier in November and for an international friendly with Spain.
Editing by Clare Fallon