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Aug 24, 2010

Wilshere returns to U21 squad, Gibbs absent

Jack Wilshere became the tenth youngest England international of all time when making his debut against Hungary earlier this month, but the Arsenal midfielder has returned to the country's Under-21 side for the upcoming international break.

Wilshere is named in a 24-man squad for the Under-21 games against Portugal and Lithuania in September although his club team-mate Kieran Gibbs has not been included by Stuart Pearce, suggesting he will remain with the senior squad.

Curiously Gibbs, who also made his senior debut against Hungary, has not made a Premier League appearance this season while Wilshere has started both of Arsenal's games against Liverpool and Blackpool.

Newcastle striker Andy Carroll and Everton's Jack Rodwell have been tipped for senior honours but both have been included by Pearce. Meanwhile, Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies earns his first call-up to join Frankie Fielding and Scott Loach, who were last minute additions for Capello's squad to face Hungary following an injury to Ben Foster and Paul Robinson's retirement.

"It's the strongest squad we could have got at this stage of the season," Pearce said regarding his selection. "Kieran Gibbs aside, we're looking pretty strong. I was very impressed with the contribution of the players in the last match [against Uzbekistan] and the majority of those players are in, with one or two additions on top of that.

"Jack's had the experience of an international cap with the seniors and his development will come. Like Theo Walcott, I think having the experience of playing with the Under-21s and seniors will be a help to him and is something he will have to come to terms with.

"He shouldn't feel disappointed that he's been in the senior squad and then come back to the Under-21s and that's the mentality that he has to come to the squad with."

Full England Under-21 squad to face Portugal and Lithuania: Fielding (Blackburn), Loach (Watford), Smithies (Huddersfield); Bertrand (Chelsea), Jones (Blackburn), Kelly (Liverpool), Mancienne (Chelsea), Richards (Man City), Smalling (Man Utd), Walker (Tottenham); Albrighton (Aston Villa), Cleverley (Man Utd), Cork (Chelsea), Henderson (Sunderland), Lansbury (Arsenal), Moses (Wigan), Muamba (Bolton), Rodwell (Everton), Rose (Tottenham), Wilshere (Arsenal); Carroll (Newcastle), Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Sturridge (Chelsea), Welbeck (Man Utd).

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