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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 9 hours ago
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Sep 30, 2010

Wilshere and Gibbs in U21 squad, but Carroll absent

Arsenal pair Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere have both been included in the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship qualifying play-off against Romania, but Newcastle striker Andrew Carroll has not been selected by coach Stuart Pearce.

England host Romania at Norwich's Carrow Road on Friday evening before the away leg in Botosani four days later. The winners of the two-legged tie will travel to Denmark for the finals in the summer of 2011.

Pearce has selected a strong squad with left-back Gibbs dropping down from the senior squad and Wilshere also in line to win his seventh cap after starting seven of Arsenal's nine games in all competitions this season.

However, Newcastle striker Carroll, who has been tipped for senior recognition following injuries suffered by Jermain Defoe, Bobby Zamora and Wayne Rooney, is conspicuous by his absence having featured frequently for the Under-21 side recently.

In theory, any of the Under-21 players could represent Pearce's side in the first leg of the play-off before linking up with Fabio Capello's senior squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on Tuesday October 12.

"There's been a great team spirit within the squad this season and the results have been pleasing as well," Pearce told the FA's official website. "Now we're in the situation of a play-off after the pressure of last month's games, but I think that will stand them in good stead for these matches against Romania.

"It will be tough for us. We've watched Romania on DVD and they are obviously a very good side. But we'd like to think we are a good side too, so that's why there is a consistency within the squad.

"More of them have gone out on loan and that will help them as individuals and fitness-wise when they turn up they should be much sharper."

Full England squad: F Fielding (Blackburn), S Loach (Watford), A Smithies (Huddersfield), J Steele (Middlesbrough); R Bertrand (Chelsea), K Gibbs (Arsenal), P Jones (Blackburn), M Kelly (Liverpool), M Mancienne (Chelsea), M Richards (Manchester City), C Smalling (Manchester United), K Walker (Tottenham); M Albrighton (Aston Villa), T Cleverley (Manchester United), J Cork (Chelsea), J Henderson (Sunderland), H Lansbury (Arsenal), F Muamba (Bolton), D Rose (Tottenham), J Wilshere (Arsenal); N Delfouneso (Aston Villa), D Sturridge (Chelsea), D Welbeck (Manchester United).

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