England gives 1st call-up to in-form striker Saido Berahino, recalls Walcott and Barkley



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LONDON — Saido Berahino was rewarded for his prolific form for West Bromwich Albion by earning a first call-up by England on Thursday, while winger Theo Walcott is back despite playing only 10 minutes for Arsenal after a 10-month injury absence.

There were also recalls for midfielders Ross Barkley, Stewart Downing and Michael Carrick ahead of England's European Championship qualifier at home to Slovenia on Nov. 15 and a friendly against neighbor Scotland in Glasgow three days later.

Captain Wayne Rooney was included in a 26-man squad and is set to make his 100th appearance for England against Slovenia.

The Burundi-born Berahino is the top-scoring English player in the Premier League with seven goals in 10 matches, and his goals have also helped England's under-21 team into next summer's European Championship.

England manager Roy Hodgson said he only hadn't called up Berahino earlier because of his importance to the under-21s.

"There's no reason to pass over his credentials yet again," Hodgson said. "I'm sure Saido will come wanting to play, but he faces stiff competition and he understands that. He's not just there for the learning process."

Walcott only returned to action last weekend from damaged cruciate knee ligaments after careful rehabilitation at Arsenal. Hodgson sees Walcott as a key member of his attack but may not select him in the upcoming games.

"He is continuing with a fitness program that we will have to make certain that we do during the time he is with us," Hodgson said. "We have given him and his club the guarantee that we will do that. (Arsenal manager) Arsene (Wenger) is happy for us to take him."

Daniel Sturridge — Rooney's first-choice partner up front — is still missing with a calf injury and Hodgson never entertained the idea of selecting the striker after a call to Liverpool enquiring about Sturridge's fitness wasn't returned by manager Brendan Rodgers.

"I've left a message for Brendan — the message was that it's pretty obvious that (Sturridge) is not fit," Hodgson said, "and Brendan's not rung back to counter that he actually is."

Liverpool right back Glen Johnson was overlooked, perhaps signaling the end of his international career with Hodgson preferring youngsters Calum Chambers and Nathaniel Clyne.

England is top of Group E in qualifying for Euro 2016 after opening with three straight wins. Slovenia is second on six points.


England:

Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Joe Hart (Manchester City).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling (both Manchester United).

Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (West Ham), Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana (both Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott (both Arsenal).

Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Welbeck (Arsenal), Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion).

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