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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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By ESPN Staff

'Pub player' Davies stunned by Capello call

Curtis Davies thought he was the victim of a wind-up, after being named in England boss Fabio Capello's provisional squad. The defender, who by his own admission performed like a 'pub player' on his Aston Villa debut, has since caught the eye of the Italian. The Villa centre-half, named alongside club-mates Gabriel Agbonlahor, Gareth Barry, Scott Carson and Ashley Young, said: 'I'm completely shocked but absolutely delighted. I wasn't thinking about England from my perspective at all. 'I was thinking about those who might get into Mr Capello's first squad - but I didn't think I'd be one of them. I'm really happy. 'When I got the news I thought it was a wind-up. I had to check several times before I realised the message was genuine. I really didn't have a clue I'd be called up.' Agbonlahor has earned his first senior chance, after scoring seven league goals this season and causing defences problems with his searing pace. He said: 'Everybody has been saying things about me all season, but I've just tried to concentrate on playing my game. I want to keep improving and I've worked hard to ge to this point. 'The gaffer has been great and he's never stopped encouraging me. I feel I'm a much better player this season and I've learnt a lot. 'I just hope I stay in the squad at the weekend. The thought of joining up with a senior England squad is a tremendous honour, but I won't be taking anything for granted.' Two high-profile omissions from the 30-man squad were David Beckham, although that was hardly unexpected, and goalkeeper Paul Robinson. There had been speculation that Michael Owen's woeful form for Newcastle could cost him inclusion in an England squad for the first time since 1998. He was named as one of the strikers, but there will be a sweaty couple of days for the 28-year-old before Capello names his final 23 tomorrow evening. Wigan's Emile Heskey, Liverpool's Peter Crouch and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney are the other strikers - while Capello has named 12 defenders. Apart from the usual names, there are call-ups for West Ham's Matthew Upson, Portsmouth's Glen Johnson and Jonathan Woodgate - who has just signed for Tottenham. Other hopefuls overlooked this time include Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott, Middlesbrough's David Wheater and Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart - because Capello believes they are needed for the England Under-21s' qualification game against Ireland.