Jack Wilshere and Marcus Rashford have been included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Turkey and Australia.
Arsenal midfielder Wilshere, who made his first Premier League start of the season in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Aston Villa, is included in a 26-man squad that Hodgson will refine on May 31 when he names his final 23 for Euro 2016.
Striker Rashford, 18, has burst onto the scene since making his Manchester United debut in February, scoring seven goals for Louis van Gaal’s side.
He and Wilshere are joined in the squad by winger Andros Townsend, who has earned a recall after his impressive form for relegated Newcastle, having last played for England as a substitute in the 3-0 win over Lithuania in October last year.
Townsend has beaten Arsenal’s Theo Walcott to a place, while Everton duo Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka also miss out.
Rashford has been given his chance ahead of Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe, who has stated his case in recent weeks with some crucial goals to help Sam Allardyce’s side avoid relegation.
Speaking after the squad announcement, Hodgson said Rashford could make it to France next month.
“He’s one of the contenders for the final squad. The competition is strong but I think he deserves to be selected in the larger squad,” he said
“I’m pleased that someone, a young player, has had such an outstanding end to the season has been included. I don’t see why he can’t knock someone off their perch but it will be harder than anyone thinks.”
Of Wilshere’s inclusion, he said it was very important that the Arsenal man proved his fitness in the final weeks of the season.
“I made it clear I didn’t want the medical department sweating over people’s fitness,” he added. “They have to be fit.
“Whether some have played enough games is another matter. I was very pleased to see Jordan Henderson back at the weekend. Jack Wilshere has been back for a few games now, so these three matches give us a chance to really assess their fitness for the final squad.
“Andros was unlucky to lose his place in the squad when he wasn’t getting a regular game and he’s gone to Newcastle, got a regular game, and done very well there,” added Hodgson.
“Theo unfortunately has not got such a regular game over the last few months and has had a few problems with injury. It’s a tough decision of course but it’s one you have to take.”
The squad, minus the Liverpool and Manchester United contingent, will meet up on Wednesday ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Turkey at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium and the game against Australia at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light on Friday May 27.
Liverpool play Sevilla in the Europa League final on Wednesday evening, while Manchester United take on Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final just a day before the Turkey match.
England’s final friendly before flying to France on June 6 will be after the final squad has been named, when Portugal visit Wembley on June 2.
England start their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia in Marseille on Saturday June 11, before facing Wales in Lens on Thursday June 16, and Slovakia in Saint-Etienne on Monday June 20.
Goalkeepers: Forster, Hart, Heaton
Defenders: Bertrand, Cahill, Clyne, Rose, Smalling, Stones, Walker
Midfielders: Alli, Barkley, Dier, Drinkwater, Delph, Henderson, Lallana, Milner, Sterling, Townsend, Wilshere
Strikers: Kane, Rashford, Rooney, Sturridge, Vardy