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Aug 7, 2010

England boss Capello calls on teenager Wilshere

Fabio Capello has signalled his desire for a fresh start following England's poor World Cup campaign by calling up Arsenal's 18-year-old midfield prodigy Jack Wilshere for Wednesday's friendly against Hungary. Club team-mates Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott are also included, but there is no place for goalkeepers David James and Robert Green.

• Adams: Change England can believe in
• Capello apologises for World Cup
• Blog: Bobby for England
• Capello plans Rooney talks

In other significant developments, Fulham striker Bobby Zamora has won his first international call-up following his excellent form for the Cottagers last season, Phil Jagielka and Gary Cahill have been brought into defence and Adam Johnson, who made the preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup finals along with Walcott, is included in midfield.

Though there is no cull of senior players such as Frank Lampard, John Terry and captain Steven Gerrard, only ten players who travelled to South Africa have survived. The most high-profile victims of Capello's squad changes include Ledley King, Matthew Upson, Aaron Lennon, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

However, the most notable element of the squad is the inclusion of Wilshere, who is Arsenal's youngest ever player in league and European football. He caught the eye during a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers last season and has secured his first senior call-up following two impressive performances in Arsenal's victory in the Emirates Cup pre-season tournament.

The teenager, who can play through the middle or out wide, graduates from the Under-21 squad and will be his country's youngest debutant since Micah Richards in November 2006 if he appears against Hungary at Wembley, and the tenth youngest of all time.

"I am delighted to have been named in the England squad for the first time,'' Wilshere told Arsenal's official website. "It is a real honour and I'm looking forward to the experience. But I am also realistic and want to take things one step at a time.

"Being called up to the England squad is a proud moment for me and my family, but my first target is to break into the Arsenal team and play on a regular basis. To achieve that, I need to keep my head down, work hard and stay focused.''

Gibbs, 20, was mentioned as a potential candidate to travel to the World Cup finals before a serious foot injury ended his contriubtion for Arsenal last season. He is included as a possible long-term replacement for Ashley Cole's usual deputy Wayne Bridge, who withdrew himself from international consideration last season following tabloid allegations regarding his former partner and John Terry.

However, Capello has hinted that both Arsenal players are unlikely to start the game against Hungary.

"Wilshere and Gibbs played very well in the Emirates Cup, but this game arrives too early," Capello said. "Some players are good at this moment, some are not good because they only started to train ten days ago."

Capello also explained his decision to leave Walcott and Adam Johnson out of the World Cup squad, only to recall both players for Wednesday's friendly tie.

"Johnson is really young and Walcott was not in a good situation," Capello said. "Walcott was really important in qualifying, but when he arrived after the shoulder operation it was not good and there were problems. I chose the players that were ready to play at the World Cup, only Gareth Barry was not ready when I chose the 23 players.

"I spoke with Johnson after the last friendly and he said he couldn't breathe during the game, he was so excited to play at Wembley. For this reason I thought he was not ready to stay with us. He had come a long way in a season, from Middlesbrough to Manchester City to England, but he was too young for the World Cup."

Aside from Wilshere and Gibbs, the third possible debutant in the England squad is Zamora, who scored 14 goals in all competitions as Fulham reached the final of the Europa League last season. The striker has previously turned down advances from Trinidad and Tobago.

The Hungary friendly at Wembley acts as a warm-up for the start of England's Euro 2012 qualification campaign. Capello's first opponents are Bulgaria, who visit the national stadium on September 3.

Full squad: Foster (Birmingham), Hart (Manchester City), Robinson (Blackburn); Brown (Manchester United), Cahill (Bolton), A Cole (Chelsea), Dawson (Tottenham), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Terry (Chelsea); Barry (Manchester City), Gerrard (Liverpool), A Johnson (Manchester City), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Aston Villa), Young (Aston Villa), Walcott (Arsenal), Wilshere (Arsenal); Bent (Sunderland), C Cole (West Ham), Rooney (Manchester United), Zamora (Fulham).

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