Gareth Southgate names Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook in England squad
Joe Hart retains place; Jack Wilshere recalled; Danny Welbeck in as cover for injured Harry Kane
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 16/03/18 10:20am
Uncapped Nick Pope, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson and Lewis Cook have been named in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy in March.
Burnley goalkeeper Pope has been called up after impressing for the Clarets, while Joe Hart retains his place in the squad as one of four goalkeepers.
"Clearly the No 1 jersey is up for grabs," said Southgate. "From our point of view, he [Hart] he has been our No 1 through qualifying, he is an important member of the squad so we wanted to keep him involved.
"We don't know how the next eight to 10 weeks will pan out for all of our goalkeepers but there is good competition for places and I think they're all looking forward to that."
Tarkowski and Mawson have been rewarded for their solid performances at Burnley and Swansea respectively this season, while Bournemouth midfielder Cook has been called up for the second time after originally being drafted into the squad ahead of the 0-0 draw with Brazil in November.
Jack Wilshere has also earned an international recall after working his way back from a broken leg.
The 26-year-old has not played for his country since the defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016 but has impressed after winning back his club place with Arsenal.
"Jack is a player that has unquestionable talent," said Southgate. "The key for me is that he's playing in the games that matter for Arsenal and he's been playing well."
Meanwhile, Gunners team-mate Danny Welbeck will provide cover in attack for regular starter Harry Kane, who is sidelined until next month after suffering an ankle injury against Bournemouth.
"Always part of what I'm working on is the strength of the squad and people are able to come in," said Southgate.
"We've been to previous tournaments and lost important players and the whole focus has been on that rather than the collective."
Gary Cahill has been left out the squad after falling out of favour at Chelsea, while Manchester United defender Chris Smalling also misses out.
There is also no place for Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold or Fulham left-back Ryan Sessegnon, who have been named in the England U21 squad to face Romania and Ukraine later this month.
England travel to face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 23 before taking on Italy at Wembley on March 27.
England squad to face the Netherlands and Italy
Goalkeepers: Joe Hart, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand, Danny Rose, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Joe Gomez, James Tarkowski, Alfie Mawson, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier
Midfielders: Ashley Young, Eric Dier, Lewis Cook, Jake Livermore, Jordan Henderson, Jack Wilshere, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Forwards: Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck, Jamie Vardy