Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere has been recalled to the England squad for upcoming friendly dates with the Netherlands and Italy.
The 26-year-old has been drafted back into the Three Lions fold by Gareth Southgate after two years in the international wilderness.
Wilshere’s last appearance for his country, which earned him a 34th cap, came in the embarrassing Euro 2016 exit suffered at the hands of Iceland.
He admitted in January, as talk of a possible recall surfaced for the first time, that it was his intention to push for a place in Southgate’s 2018 World Cup plans.
An opportunity to stake a claim for a seat on the plane to Russia has now presented itself for a man who was worked his way back into favour at Arsenal this season to make 30 appearances across all competitions.
Elsewhere, in an experimental squad which is intended to go those on the fringes of the fold a chance to prove their worth, there are a number of maiden call-ups.
Burnley’s Nick Pope has seen his fine Premier League form rewarded with a spot in a goalkeeping contingent which once again includes Joe Hart despite his struggles during a loan spell at West Ham.
Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson is also included for the first time, along with Burnley defender James Tarkowski.
Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook, who previously figured in the senior ranks for a friendly clash with Brazil in November 2017, gets another nod from Southgate and Ashley Young’s renaissance at Manchester United sees him looking to add to a 31-cap haul.
Adam Lallana also makes the grade despite concerns regarding his fitness amid another injury-hit campaign at Liverpool.
An untimely knock means that Tottenham striker Harry Kane is among the notable absentees, with the man hoping to take the armband in Russia this summer set to be sidelined until April with ankle ligament damage.
Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck, Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy will compete to lead the line against the Dutch on March 23 and Italy four days later.
England squad in full
GOALKEEPERS Jack Butland, Joe Hart, Jordan Pickford, Nick Pope
DEFENDERS Ryan Bertrand, Joe Gomez, Harry Maguire, Alfie Mawson, Danny Rose, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young
MIDFIELDERS Dele Alli, Lewis Cook, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jesse Lingard, Jake Livermore, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Raheem Sterling, Jack Wilshere
FORWARDS Marcus Rashford, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck.