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Watkins, Bowen return to England squad for Australia, Italy games

Forwards Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen have returned to the England squad for a friendly against Australia and a Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy but there is again no place for Raheem Sterling.

Manager Gareth Southgate named a 26-man squad for the October double-header, with uncapped Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah again getting the nod.

England host Australia at Wembley on October 13 before taking on defending champions Italy at the same ground on October 17.

Watkins has not been called up since March 2022 and returned days after Southgate watched the striker score a hat-trick in Aston Villa’s 6-1 win against Brighton.

Bowen returns to the England squad for the first time since September 2022 having scored five goals in seven league games for West Ham.

Sterling is conspicuous by his absence after Southgate overlooked the 82-cap Chelsea forward and Mason Mount is also missing despite returning to action with Manchester United.

John Stones returned from injury and Bukayo Saka was selected despite fitness concerns, while Ben Chilwell, Eberechi Eze and Callum Wilson were ruled out.

Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips retained their places despite ongoing questions over their playing time, while Jordan Henderson also remained after moving to Saudi Arabia.

England are top of their Euro 2024 qualifying group, six points clear of Italy, who will play their game in hand against Malta on October 14.

The final matches of the qualifying stage will take place in November.

England squad   

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Levi Colwill (Chelsea), Lewis Dunk (Brighton), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan/ITA), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid/ESP), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Al-Ettifaq/KSA), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (Arsenal)

Forwards: Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Bayern Munich/GER), James Maddison (Tottenham), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa)

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