Int Football – Becks wins England recall
David Beckham could win a 100th England cap next week after Fabio Capello named the LA Galaxy midfielder in a 30-man squad ahead of the friendly against France.
Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Middlesbrough’s central defender David Wheater have also been called up to the provisional squad, which will be trimmed down to 23 names on Saturday.
Capello had overlooked the former England captain for his first squad due to fitness concerns, but having been given assurances by Galaxy boss Ruud Gullit over the weekend, the Italian coach has decided the time is right to bring Beckham back into the international fold.
Striker Walcott, 19, has not featured for the national side since he made his debut nearly two years ago – against Hungary in the run up to the 2006 World Cup.
21-year-old Wheater won his first international call-up after having impressed in the heart of Middlesbrough’s defence so far this season while goalkeeping duties in the Stade de France look certain to go to David James after Paul Robinson was once again overlooked, despite a recent upturn in form.
Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor was also named in Capello’s squad, but there was no place for Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, who like Agbonlahor and Walcott was omitted from Stuart Pearce’s Under-21s squad.
Capello is yet to name his captain for the friendly in Paris, but it is understood he wants to share the armband around his senior players before settling on his permanent skipper. Steven Gerrard led England against Switzerland, but John Terry is back in contention after missing Capello’s first game in charge through injury and is favourite to skipper the side along with Rio Ferdinand.
Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), John Terry (Chelsea), Wes Brown (Man Utd), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Rio Ferdinand (Man Utd), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham), Mathew Upson (West Ham).
Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), David Bentley (Blackburn), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Owen Hargreaves (Man Utd), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham).
Meanwhile, France coach Raymond Domenech has included ten Premier League players in his squad to face England and Mali as Les Bleus warm up for Euro 2008.
Juventus striker David Trezeguet was again overlooked while four newcomers were included – Marseille striker Mathieu Valbuena, Lyon midfielder Mathieu Bodmer and defenders Adil Rami of Lille and Stuttgart’s Mathieu Delpierre.
Goalkeepers: Gregory Coupet (Lyon), Sebastien Frey (Fiorentina), Mickael Landreau (Paris St Germain), Steve Mandanda (Marseille).
Defenders: Eric Abidal (Barcelona), Jean-Alain Boumsong (Lyon), Francois Clerc (Lyon), Sebastien Squillaci (Lyon), Gael Clichy (Arsenal), William Gallas (Arsenal), Bakary Sagna (Arsenal), Julien Escude (Sevilla), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), Gael Givet (Marseille), Philippe Mexes (Roma), Mathieu Delpierre (Stuttgart), Adil Rami (Lille), Lilian Thuram (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Alou Diarra (Bordeaux), Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth), Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal), Claude Makelele (Chelsea), Samir Nasri (Marseille), Jerome Rothen (Paris St Germain), Jeremy Toulalan (Lyon), Patrick Vieira (Internazionale), Mathieu Bodmer (Lyon), Rio Mavuba (Lille).
Forwards: Nicolas Anelka (Chelsea), Hatem Ben Arfa (Lyon), Karim Benzema (Lyon), Sidney Govou (Lyon), Jimmy Briand (Stade Rennes), Djibril Cisse (Marseille), Thierry Henry (Barcelona), Florent Malouda (Chelsea), Louis Saha (Manchester United), Mathieu Valbuena (Marseille), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich).