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Monday 10 September 2012

Hodgson calls up England youngsters

Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Jake Livermore earned England call-ups

  • Adam Lallana (left) has progressed from League One to the national set-up in two years

England manager Roy Hodgson has called up Southampton's Adam Lallana, Liverpool's Raheem Sterling and Jake Livermore, of Tottenham Hotspur, to his squad who will host Ukraine in their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying group match against Ukraine on Tuesday.

With Chelsea defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole sidelined with ankle injuries, West Ham United's on-loan striker Andy Carroll hamstrung and Sunderland's Adam Johnson and Arsenal's Theo Walcott having both returned to their clubs with thigh injuries and illness respectively, Hodgson has opted to replenish his party with youthful alternatives.

"I'm totally shocked to be honest, and I didn't think the gaffer was being serious when he called to tell me this morning"
Adam Lallana

Midfielder Lallana, 24, has played at various youth levels for England and has been an instrumental part in the Southampton side who climbed from League One to the English top-flight, where he has played in all three matches for the newly promoted South Coast side this season.

"I'm totally shocked and I didn't think the gaffer was being serious when he called to tell me this morning," Lallana told the club's official website. "I was at home about to head into the training ground when he called – I must have asked if he was having me on a dozen times.

"It's such a proud accomplishment to be called up to play for your country at any level, but to be called into the senior side is probably the proudest moment of my career so far.  

"To play for the Under-21s was a great achievement but this tops it because it is every player's dream to represent your country at the top level."

Livermore is two years Lallana's junior but has an England cap, having replaced Frank Lampard in the second half of England's 2-1 friendly defeat of Italy last month.

The 22-year-old defensive midfielder has enjoyed a regular starting berth at Tottenham since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas as manager at White Hart Lane this summer.

Sterling reward

At 17, Sterling is the youngest of the three recruits, Hodgson having rewarded the winger for an impressive start to the Barclays Premier League campaign.

The Jamaican-born teenager, who grew up close to Wembley Stadium, where Tuesday's match will take place, only made his first Premier League start against Manchester City last month, but his pace and directness has been a high note in an otherwise stuttering start to the campaign for Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool side.

Having included Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Manchester United's Tom Cleverley from the start in England's 5-0 victory against Moldova on Friday, Hodgson appears determined to give youth a chance.

Tickets for England's first home 2014 World Cup qualifier are still on sale and a family of four can attend for just £60.

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Key Points

  • Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Jake Livermore called up to England squad
  • Hodgson opts for youth with John Terry and Theo Walcott having withdrawn through injury and illness
  • Sterling, 17, has made just five Premier League appearances for Liverpool