Uncapped United trio called up for England

Uncapped United trio called up for England

Published Aug. 28, 2011 9:30 p.m. ET

Phil Jones has been called into the England squad for the first time along with uncapped Manchester United teammates Phil Jones and Tom Cleverely for the 2012 European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales.

The trio all starred in United's 8-2 thrashing of Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday, having been thrust into the team this season as Alex Ferguson overhauls the champion's squad.

''He changed the team completely,'' England coach Fabio Capello said of Ferguson. ''The talent is incredible. When you find the talent, you need to use it.''

Although England is yet to qualify for Euro 2012 - the team is top of Group G only on goal difference ahead of Montenegro - Capello already has one eye on the finals.


After a weary side struggled at the 2010 World Cup, Capello hopes to take fresher, younger talent to Poland and Ukraine.

And the 19-year-old Jones, who signed for United in the offseason, could be the center back to dislodge the injury-prone Rio Ferdinand from the team.

Ferdinand's current injury problems have already given Jones, a 17 million-pound (then $27 million) offseason signing from Blackburn, a chance to impress for United - and catch Capello's eyes.

''So young, so good,'' Capello told reporters on Friday ahead of the squad announcement.

Like Jones, the 21-year-old Smalling featured at the European Under-21 championship in June. While previously named in a senior squad, Smalling did not get a chance to make his debut against France last November.

He was signed by United in 2010 as a center back, but has impressed on the right and taken the place of Tottenham's Kyle Walker in the squad.

Cleverely, a 22-year-old midfielder, was drafted into the squad for a Netherlands friendly as injury cover but the match was called off.

''He can play in front of the back four, as a midfielder or a forward,'' Capello said. ''Always he tries to go to the goal.''

The trio are in the squad alongside United teammates Wayne Rooney and Ashley Young, who contributed five of the eight goals on Sunday against Arsenal.

Danny Welbeck is also likely to have been called up, but he came off injured after scoring United's opener.

The victory took United top of the Premier League on goal difference ahead of Manchester City, which has also opened the season with three wins.

Such is Manchester's dominance now in English football, there are also six members of the City squad that crushed Tottenham 5-1 on Sunday in Capello's 25-man squad.

They are goalkeeper Joe Hart, defenders Joleon Lescott and Micah Richards, midfielder Gareth Barry and wingers Adam Johnson and James Milner.

England cannot afford any slip-ups in Bulgaria on Saturday or at home to Wales the following Tuesday.

''Bulgaria and Wales are really important games for us (because) we play the last game against Montenegro,'' Capello said. ''We need to win these games. We need to be top of the group for that (last) one. It will be a difficult game in Montenegro.''



Goalkeepers: Robert Green (West Ham), Joe Hart (Manchester City), David Stockdale (Ipswich).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Ashley Young (Manchester United).

Forwards: Darren Bent (Aston Villa), Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).