November 8, 2018 / 4:01 PM / 8 months ago

Soccer: Bournemouth striker Wilson gets first England call-up

(Reuters) - In-form Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson was called up to the England squad for the first time on Thursday for their games against the United States and Croatia.

Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth vs Newcastle United - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - February 24, 2018 Bournemouth's Callum Wilson during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

Everton defender Michael Keane, Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard have been recalled to the squad by manager Gareth Southgate after missing the last set of internationals.

England’s record goalscorer Wayne Rooney is also in the squad for the friendly international against the U.S. on Nov. 15, which will be used to pay tribute to England’s record goalscorer.

“Callum is a striker we worked with briefly with the Under-21s so we know plenty about him,” Southgate told a news conference on Thursday. “He’s a threat in terms of running in behind defences.

“He’s been involved with either scoring or assists, with a high number of goals this season, so it’s a good opportunity for us to have a look at him and see how he fits into what we do, and for him to get a feel of working with the senior team.”

The 26-year-old has scored six Premier League goals for Bournemouth this season, helping Eddie Howe’s side climb to sixth place in the table.

Southgate also defended the decision to include Rooney, who has not played for England for two years, but will collect his 120th cap against the United States.

“There have been ongoing discussions since Wayne retired about paying tribute to him and his England career,” Southgate said. “Those discussions started 12 months ago.

“I was quite happy for the tribute to be before the World Cup but Wayne did not want to detract from the team at that time, so now we have the opportunity to pay that tribute.

“If somebody is going to earn that cap it is someone who has got 119 more than someone who has one. I think he’s earned the right to that cap over a period of over 10 years, six major tournaments and being our record goalscorer.

“I understand it’s caused a lot of debate and conjecture, but it’s a way of appreciating what he’s given.”

After the friendly against the U.S., England face Croatia in the Nations League on Nov. 18.

World Cup runners-up Croatia are in last place in League A Group 4, having played a game less than group leaders Spain and England.

Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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