Switzerland picks 3 young forwards to face England

Switzerland picks 3 young forwards to face England

Published May. 27, 2011 1:58 p.m. ET

Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld called up three uncapped young forwards on Friday for a 2012 European Championship qualifier against England.

Innocent Emeghara, Admir Mehmedi and 18-year-old Granit Xhaka were called up for the first time for the June 4 match at Wembley. Xhaka was in Switzerland's Under-17 World Cup winning side two years ago.

Hitzfeld appears to be targeting the 2014 World Cup in Brazil already after a poor start to Switzerland's Euro 2012 program.

His options are also limited after veterans Alex Frei and Marco Streller retired from international football.


Switzerland's most experienced available forward is 22-year-old Eren Derdiyok, who scored on his international debut at Wembley in February 2008 when England won 2-1 in coach Fabio Capello's first match in charge.

Just one player in Hitzfeld's 21-man squad, defender Stephane Grichting, is older than 30.

Fulham defender Philippe Senderos returns after a long-term Achilles' tendon injury.

Nigerian-born Emeghara's selection came on the Grasshoppers player's 22nd birthday. Mehmedi, a 20-year-old Zurich forward, was born in the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia.

Xhaka, who plays for Swiss champion FC Basel, joins fellow Kosovo-born players Valon Behrami and Xherdan Shaqiri in the national team.

Switzerland lost 3-1 at home to England in its opening qualifier last September, then lost 1-0 at Montenegro which shares the Group G lead with Capello's team. The group also includes Bulgaria and Wales.



Goalkeepers: Diego Benaglio (Wolfsburg), Marco Woelfli (Young Boys), Johnny Leoni (Zurich)

Defenders: Stephan Lichtsteiner (Lazio), Stephane Grichting (Auxerre), Johann Djourou (Arsenal), Steve von Bergen (Cesena), Philippe Senderos (Fulham), Reto Ziegler (Juventus)

Midfielders: Valon Behrami (Fiorentina), Gelson Fernandes (Chievo), Gokhan Inler (Udinese), Blerim Dzemaili (Parma), Pirmin Schwegler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Xavier Margairaz (Zurich), Xherdan Shaqiri (FC Basel), Tranquillo Barnetta (Bayer Leverkusen)

Forwards: Eren Derdiyok (Bayer Leverkusen), Innocent Emeghara (Grasshoppers), Admir Mehmedi (Zurich), Granit Xhaka (Basel)