Top 10 Shock England Call-Ups



With seasoned pros (!) Theo Walcott and Daniel Sturridge struggling with injury, England boss Roy Hodgson today drafted Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana into his squad for the World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine.

Sterling, who can still count his first team appearances for Liverpool on his hands (and, indeed, is young enough to still remember learning to count) has turned out for England at U16, U17 and U19 level, but has yet to make the step up to U21 level. 24-year-old Lallana, meanwhile, has a grand total of three caps to his name across the Three Lions youth set-up. Surely neither would have been expecting a call from Hodgson this weekend, despite their promising starts to the new Premier League season.

They are not, however, the first players to receive shock call-ups to the England squad...

10. Jack Butland

The young goalkeeper was called into the Euro 2012 squad despite never having played in the Premier League. Or the Championship. Or League One. The stopper impressed for Cheltenham Town on loan from Birmingham, but evidently did enough to convince Roy Hodgson of his quality.

9. Fraizer Campbell

Earlier this year, caretaker manager Stuart Pearce turned to the Sunderland striker ahead of a friendly against the Netherlands. While few would doubt Campbell's potential, his goalscoring record hardly screams of international class: at the time of his call-up, he'd scored just six league goals in four seasons.

8. Stuart Pearce

English football has known some dark days and 4 September 1999 is right up there among them. Yes, the Three Lions may have thrashed Luxembourg in a qualifier for Euro 2000, but a glance at the team sheet tells another story. That the best left-back in the country was a 37-year-old Stuart Pearce is a damning indictment of the state of the squad at the time. (The right-back that day, incidentally, was Kieron Dyer. Kieron Dyer. Dire straits.)

7. Alan Thompson


Sven-Goran Eriksson was clearly in generous mood in 2004, when he handed a cap to Alan Thompson, a midfielder for whom international football must have seemed but a dream. While Thompson had impressed with his goalscoring exploits for Bolton and Celtic, he was no spring chicken, having turned 30 three months before taking to the field in a friendly against Sweden. He remains the only player to have played for England while at Celtic.

6. Michael Ricketts

Another of Sven's more bizarre selections, the burly striker earnt a shock call-up for a friendly against the Netherlands in 2002. While he showed some promise during his time at Bolton Wanderers, his international pedigree was questionable at best - a feeling borne out by his subsequent journeyman career. A poor man's Emile Heskey. (How poor can you be?!)

5. Joe Lewis

Although the then Peterborough goalkeeper never made it onto the pitch for friendlies against Trinidad & Tobago and the USA, his 2008 call-up was the stuff of pub quiz trivia. He became the first player from outside of the top two divisions of the English game to be selected for the Three Lions since 1989, taking the mantle from...

4. Steve Bull

Having plundered goals aplenty in the 1988/89 Third Division season, the Wolves man was drafted into the national side by Bobby Robson. The striker did well enough to chalk up 14 appearances over the next year, earning himself a place in England's Italia '90 squad. Bull, who only made one appearance in the English top flight over the course of his career, scored four times for the Three Lions.

3. Gavin McCann

He may have carved out a respectable Premier League career at Sunderland and Bolton, but Gavin McCann can count himself very lucky indeed to be the owner of an England cap. The midfield clogger represented his country against Spain in 2001, coming on as substitute for the rather more cultured Paul Scholes. One imagines that his direct opponent, the 30-year-old Pep Guardiola, was not quaking in his boots.

2. Chris Powell

The 31-year-old left-back became England's oldest debutant for almost half a century when he featured against Spain in 2001. Called up by (you guessed it) Sven, Powell was busy pinching himself before realising he was going to start the game when both he and David Beckham - England's captain at the time - were handed green bibs in training. He went on to make four more appearances before being replaced by the emerging Ashley Cole.

1. Theo Walcott

Before Raheem Sterling came Theo Walcott. The pacy teenage winger impressed for Southampton in the 2005/06 Championship, earning a move to serial child-snatchers Arsenal in the process. However, he was yet to make a single appearance for The Gunners by the summer of 2006, and nobody would've expected him to be anywhere near England's World Cup squad. But that man Eriksson again defied expectations by including the A-Level student in his squad for Germany. The rest is history. Largely underwhelming history, but history nonetheless.

And one that got away...

Matthew Connolly, an Arsenal youth team player, was unexpectedly drafted in to an England training session in 2006 when Jermaine Jenas and Aaron Lennon pulled up injured. The youngster was apparently minding his own business at Arsenal's London Colney training complex when Steve McClaren asked him to make up the numbers in an 8-a-side practice match. Sadly, Connolly, who now plays for Cardiff, has yet to make up the step up to the squad proper.