Jack Wilshere in line for England recall for Holland and Italy friendlies
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 15/03/18 2:54pm
Jack Wilshere is set for an England recall when Gareth Southgate names his squad for the pre-World Cup friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy on Thursday.
The 26-year-old has not played for his country since the embarrassing Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland but has impressed after winning back his club place with Arsenal.
Wilshere's likely return comes amid concern over Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who will be sidelined until next month after preliminary assessments showed damage to the lateral ligaments in his right ankle.
While Kane's absence will be a blow to Southgate, the striker is clearly determined that his latest setback will not affect his chances of going to Russia.
"Disappointing to be out until next month but injuries are part of the game," Kane wrote on Twitter. "Will do everything I can to get back out there asap."
Kane aside, Southgate's attacking options have increased with the fine form of Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, as well as Danny Welbeck's return to the Arsenal front-line.
Among the uncapped players looking to land call-ups are Callum Wilson, Glenn Murray and Ashley Barnes, while Joe Hart's lack of Premier League game time this season has led to calls in some quarters to elevate the in-form Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.
And England's participation in this summer's finals will come under continued scrutiny given the current political tensions between the UK and hosts Russia.
Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday that UK dignitaries, including members of the royal family, will not attend this summer's tournament as the fall-out to the nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia continues.
Russia has denied any involvement in the Salisbury attack and the Foreign Office has now warned those travelling to Russia in the coming weeks about the "possibility of anti-British sentiment or harassment at this time".
When asked in the Commons about Football Association senior officials travelling to the World Cup, May said she was "sure they will want to be considering their position", but stressed it was theirs to make.
A statement from the FA in the wake of Mrs May's comments read: "The FA will continue to work closely with the UK Government and relevant authorities regarding our participation in this summer's FIFA World Cup and the Women's World Cup qualifier in June.
"Our priority for all England matches is to ensure the safety and security of the fans, players and staff. As is standard practice, we will take all travel guidance from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office."