LUTON - Everton breakthrough star Ross Barkley, 20, was named in a youthful England World Cup squad on Monday, but Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick only made the standby list. Liverpool's 19-year-old winger Raheem Sterling and Southampton's 18-year-old left-back Luke Shaw also made the cut in a squad that contained only six players with previous World Cup experience.
"They have imposed themselves and imposed their ability in my thinking," said England manager Roy Hodgson. "If I picked my squad in October after the last two World Cup qualifiers, then it might have looked different." Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole announced his international retirement on Sunday after being informed by Hodgson that he would not be selected, and Shaw took his place.
"Ashley is a player that I and the rest of my staff appreciate," Hodgson told a press conference at the headquarters of one of England's sponsors in Luton, 29 miles (47 kilometres) north of London. "He is a magnificent player and what he's done for England is second to none. Luke Shaw has had a wonderful season. He has captured headlines with his form and ability. "One player has 107 caps and one has many caps to come. It was a hard job to ring Ashley and I can only be unbelievably grateful for the gracious way he accepted the decision."
Cole's Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard was selected, despite doubts about the 35-year-old's inclusion, but Tottenham Hotspur right-back Kyle Walker missed out due to a pelvic injury. Theo Walcott, Jay Rodriguez and Andros Townsend had previously been ruled out by injury. Phil Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere all overcame injury scares to be included in the 23-man list, while Southampton striker Rickie Lambert was preferred to West Ham United rival Andy Carroll.
Carroll was also named on the standby list, alongside Carrick, Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy, Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan, Everton centre-back John Stones, Manchester United midfielder Tom Cleverley and Jermain Defoe, now of Canadian side Toronto FC. Hodgson explained that Everton defender Stones, 19, had been placed on standby due to concerns over the fitness of United defender Jones. "The only one I would say that seriously poses a question is Phil Jones," Hodgson said.
"He had his shoulder injury a week ago and, from what everyone tells me and my experience, it is a three-week injury to be back and playing. But we can't guarantee that so I will be taking John Stones and Jon Flanagan with me. Stones will be Jones's replacement." England have been drawn in Group D at the World Cup in Brazil alongside Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica. Hodgson must confirm his final 23-man squad by June 2.
England squad for 2014 World Cup:
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Fraser Forster (Celtic/SCO)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (England), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Chris Smalling (Manchester United)
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Southampton), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United)
Standby: John Ruddy (Norwich City), Jon Flanagan (Liverpool), John Stones (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Andy Carroll (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC/CAN).