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West Ham’s Antonio earns England first call

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West Ham's Michail Antonio celebrates scoring a goal. PHOTO/SKY

West Ham’s Michail Antonio celebrates scoring a goal. PHOTO/SKY

LONDON, United Kingdom, Aug 29- West Ham’s Michail Antonio is the only uncapped player named in Sam Allardyce’s first squad since becoming England manager.

Along with Antonio, Luke Shaw and Phil Jagielka return to the squad after injuries last season kept them out of contention for a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for Euro 2016.

Antonio has played at right-back and in midfield for the Hammers this season, but is listed as a midfielder in Allardyce’s squad for the World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava on September 4.

The 26-year-old, who stands at 5ft 11ins, has scored eight headed goals since his arrival at West Ham in the summer of 2015, more than any other player in the Premier League. The most recent of those came in Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.

“I think he’s in outstanding form,” Allardyce said on the FA’s website.

“This is another lad with a great journey – it’s a fantastic journey that he’s been on, from non-league to now an international call-up. He scored nine goals in his first season and he’s a terrific athlete, a good crosser and a goal-scorer.

“I’m looking forward to him coming, and looking forward to meeting everybody. Hopefully we will have a good few days’ preparation and get to know each other on the basis of trying to go and win in Slovakia.”

But there is no place for his West Ham team-mate Mark Noble, who was among the uncapped players being talked up for a potential call-up from Allardyce, a manager he knows well.

Chelsea centre-back John Terry, whose name had also cropped up, was overlooked along with Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe.

Hodgson’s captain Wayne Rooney is on the squad list as a midfielder, with Allardyce naming only three out-and-out strikers in Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy.

He is yet to confirm his skipper, and that announcement is not expected until the squad links up at St George’s Park on Monday evening.

Leicester midfielder Danny Drinkwater, who made his debut in the Euro 2016 warm-up matches, is also given a chance to shine while there is a recall for Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.

As Allardyce had confirmed, Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart retains his place in the squad alongside fellow ‘keepers Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton.

Of those who went to France in the summer, Marcus Rashford is left out – he was called up to the England U21 squad earlier in the week – while injured duo Ryan Bertrand and Jack Wilshere and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley are omitted and James Milner has retired from international football.

Barkley failed to make an appearance at Euro 2016 but has been in impressive form at the start of the 2016-17 campaign, scoring two goals in four games.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Forster (Southampton), Hart (Man City), Heaton (Burnley)

Defenders: Cahill (Chelsea), Clyne (Liverpool), Jagielka (Everton), Rose (Tottenham), Shaw (Man Utd), Smalling (Man Utd), Stones (Man City), Walker (Tottenham)

Midfielders: Alli (Tottenham), Antonio (West Ham), Dier (Tottenham), Drinkwater (Leicester), Henderson (Liverpool), Lallana (Liverpool), Rooney (Man Utd), Sterling (Man City), Walcott (Arsenal)

Forwards: Kane (Tottenham), Sturridge (Liverpool), Vardy (Leicester)

-By Sky Sports

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