FABIAN DELPH has been handed a shock England recall by Gareth Southgate for the upcoming clashes against Slovenia and Lithuania.
The Three Lions are hoping to seal their spot at next summer’s World Cup in Russia in their final qualifiers next week.
And the Manchester City star is a surprise inclusion in the 26-player list following his two-year absence from the international scene.
Delph, 27, won his last England cap against Spain in November 2015.
Explaining his decision, Southgate said: “We think he’s a really good player.
“He hasn’t had as many games as we’d like but we need alternatives in midfield.”
“He was very important for Roy, he’s been unfortunate with injuries and limited chances.
“We need more competition for places in midfield and we think he can provide that. We look forward to working with him.”
ENGLAND SQUAD TO FACE SLOVENIA AND LITHUANIA
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Jack Butland (Stoke City), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (AFC Bournemouth), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (West Ham United, on loan from Manchester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Keane (Everton), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), John Stones (Manchester City), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Dele Alli is also included despite the lingering threat of a Fifa ban.
The midfielder was caught on camera sticking up his finger in the Wembley win over Slovakia.
However, the FA say they will fight any potential suspension after the ace claimed it was a joke with team-mate Kyle Walker and denied it was aimed at the referee.
On the Alli issue, Southgate added: “There’s a grey area because I see players and coaches swearing – not with hand gestures – and not being punished.”
“Dele fully understands his responsibilities. He knows it’s something he won’t do again.”
Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster also finds himself back in the squad as a replacement for injured Burnley stopper Tom Heaton.
Elsewhere, Southgate has kept Leicester City defender Harry Maguire in his group following his first call-up for the victories over Malta and Slovakia earlier this month.
Jamie Vardy joins Heaton on the injury list after hurting his hip and misses out on the final double header of the qualification campaign.
The Three Lions will meet up at St. George’s Park on Sunday before hosting Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday 5 October.
They will then take on Lithuania in Vilnius three days later in their final qualifier.
England are two points clear at the top of qualifying Group F and need just one win from the final two matches to seal a place at Russia 2018.
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