Rooney included in England squad for qualifiers

Wayne Rooney has been included in the England squad for the
final two World Cup qualifiers despite missing Manchester United’s
last match through injury.

The striker is expected to recover from his shin injury to face
Montenegro and Poland later this month.

”We are reliably informed it is not a serious injury and it
won’t stop him joining up with us,” England coach Roy Hodgson said
Thursday.

Fellow forward Daniel Sturridge returns to the England squad
after missing last month’s qualifiers through injury. He will be
competing for a spot along with Daniel Welbeck, Jermain Defoe and
Rickie Lambert.

England has a one-point lead over Ukraine and Montenegro in
Group H. The group winner automatically secures a spot at the World
Cup next year, with the runner-up facing a playoff to qualify for
Brazil.

England hosts Montenegro on Oct. 11, and Poland is at Wembley
Stadium on Oct. 15.

Joe Hart will remain England’s first-choice goalkeeper despite
his form coming under scrutiny after being blamed for several goals
conceded by Manchester City.

”I’m not blind to the situation that has developed I do realize
this is not a good moment for Joe,” Hodgson said.

”I feel Joe will shrug this off,” he added. ”I’m sure he
isn’t happy with the criticism. I’m sure he isn’t happy to let in
goals he’ll think he could have stopped.”

But Hodgson wants to stick with experienced players, seeing the
final qualifiers as no time to experiment with the lineup.

”It will take a lot more than a bad game for any player before
I suggest he needs to be replaced,” Hodgson said.

Squad

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Man City), Fraser Forster (Celtic), John
Ruddy (Norwich)

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea),
Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones
(Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle
Walker (Tottenham).

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester
United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard
(Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester
City), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Rickie Lambert
(Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge
(Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United).