Five new faces for England
By Peter ORourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jlloyd Samuel, Alan Thompson, Jermain Defoe, Robert Green and Shaun Wright Phillips have all been given their first call-ups to the squad.
Green's inclusion comes as something of a surprise and he is one of four keepers in the squad along with David James, Paul Robinson, and Ian Walker.
Eriksson has given Aston Villa defender Samuel his first call-up after seeing him score in his side's win at Charlton on Saturday.
There have been calls for Celtic midfielder Alan Thompson's inclusion after an impressive season at home and abroad and he will get the chance to make a late push for the squad for this summer's finals.
Manchester City ace Shaun Wright is named in the squad despite picking up a knock in his side's draw with Fulham at the weekend and Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has impressed since his move to White Hart Lane from West Ham in January.
Eriksson has named a 26-man squad for what is England's final away friendly before Euro 2004 and he has rested Arsenal's Sol Campbell, Manchester United duo Gary Neville and Paul Scholes, as well as Wayne Bridge and Frank Lampard from Chelsea.
David Beckham and Wayne Rooney have been named in the squad despite struggling with injuries.
Liverpool striker Michael Owen, Newcastle midfielder Kieron Dyer and Arsenal defender Ashley Cole are all missing through injury.
Tottenham's Anthony Gardner benefits from an injury to team-mate Ledley King to make the squad.
Chelsea midfielder Scott Parker has been recalled to the squad, but there is no place for Liverpool's Danny Murphy or Birmingham's Matthew Upson.
Eriksson revealed he was close to knowing his final squad for the European Championship finals in Portugal.
"If I should pick the best squad today and the tournament was in one week's time, I think I should know exactly who would be in the squad," said Eriksson.
"There might be just one or two decisions to make. But then, when you talk about someone like Ledley King, for instance, he's one who might come in."
Eriksson revealed there was still time for a player to make a late charge for a place in the squad and had words of encouragement three of his new faces Defoe, Green and Wright-Phillips.
"You never know how many problems we will have at the end of the season," added Eriksson.
"Defoe always scores and you can't take that away from him. Whether he starts or is on the bench, he is one of those players who is very good to put in.
"I have to see the positive side of it and see new players.
"We won't play the same team as in the first game of the European Championships against France. In that sense, the game has no meaning. But the positive side is the chance to see if Defoe, or any other players, are ready or not."
Green gets his chance as concerns still surround the fitness of Liverpool's Chris Kirkland.
"It's good to see him in case something should happen to James, Robinson or Walker. I have never seen him play but Ray Clemence has seen him many times and we've had good reports about him," said Eriksson of Green.
As for Wright-Phillips, he added: "I think he deserves a chance, he is doing well and working very hard. I saw him a couple of times recently and the scouts have given him good reports after every game."
Eriksson also tried to offer an olive branch to some managers unhappy at the timing of the game by resting two players from each of the top three.
"Ashley Cole has an injury and Sol Campbell has had a problem for some time, so I decided to phone up the other managers and ask them if they needed to rest someone else," said Eriksson.
"I think it's fair and although it's important that we have the best team in Sweden, I understand their situation.
"Friendlies are always a problem, especially in March and April. I am happy that we don't play in April but the problem is too many games and I understand the managers completely,.