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England squad announced for Australia friendly, Italy Euro qualifier – Bowen, Watkins recalled, Sterling left out

Forwards Jarrod Bowen and Ollie Watkins were called up by England manager Gareth Southgate on Thursday ahead of the friendly against Australia and 2024 European Championship qualifier versus Italy later this month.

Bowen has been on top form for West Ham United this season with the 26-year-old scoring five times to sit behind Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (eight goals) and Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min (six) in the Premier League scoring charts.

But there was no place for Raheem Sterling. The Chelsea forward has scored 20 goals for England but has not been picked since the World Cup quarter-final exit in Qatar last year.

“We’ve been happy with the wide players in the last four games in particular and in the two in March. The team is playing really well and clearly, there’s some stability there,” Southgate told reporters when asked about 28-year-old Sterling’s absence.

“We have added Jarrod Bowen in those wide areas, he’s scored five in seven games and is playing really well. With the Australia game, there’s the opportunity to learn some different things.”

Aston Villa’s Watkins has scored four goals in his last two league games, including a hat-trick against Brighton & Hove Albion in a 6-1 win to move his team up to fifth. Watkins made the cut with Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson injured.

“Ollie has started the season well, he’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks. You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias with selection,” Southgate added.

“But he is in good form and obviously coming in on a high. His team are playing well and he’s playing for a team that is really well coached and they are in a good moment.”

Bowen last played for England in June 2022 in its Nations League campaign, while Watkins, who has scored two goals for England, has not played for his country since March last year.

England faces Australia at Wembley on October 13 before hosting Italy in a Euro qualifier on October 17 at the same venue.

England is top of Group C, six points ahead of Italy which has a game in hand.

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal)
Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United) Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich), James Maddison (Tottenham Hotspur), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)
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