In-form Parker rewarded with England call-up

September 29, 2006

Scott Parker has been recalled to the England squad after two and a half years in the international wilderness.

Steve McClaren named Parker in the 24-man squad he unveiled on Friday ahead of Euro 2008 qualifiers against Macedonia and Croatia.

The Newcastle captain is seen as a direct replacement for midfielder Owen Hargreaves, who is out with a broken leg.

Wayne Rooney is also back in the fold after serving his two-match ban for a red card in the World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

Charlton striker Darren Bent has dropped down into the under-21 squad to make way for Rooney.

Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher return after injury ruled them out of the games against Andorra and Macedonia, earlier this month.

Ledley King is also included after missing the last 10 England games through injuries.

King broke his foot before the World Cup finals and then needed a knee operation in pre-season, which ruled him out of the start of the McClaren era.

Tottenham boss Martin Jol left his captain out of yesterday's UEFA Cup tie against Slavia Prague because of another problem with his knee but McClaren expects the defender to be fit.

King's Spurs team-mate Michael Dawson and Charlton's Luke Young have both been dropped.

Joe Cole, who suffered a reaction to his knee injury on his return for Chelsea, is not ready.

Parker has won two England caps, the last of which came as a brief substitute against Sweden in March 2004.

He was dropped onto the stand-by list for Euro 2004 and never picked by Sven-Goran Eriksson again.

McClaren, who saw Parker play well for Newcastle against Everton on Sunday, has been impressed with his form this season.

There is no place for Jonathan Woodgate, who has been in good form since moving to Middlesbrough from Real Madrid.

And no recall for David Beckham despite the injury to Spurs winger Aaron Lennon.

Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson (Tottenham Hotspur), Ben Foster (Watford), Chris Kirkland (Wigan).

Defenders: Gary Neville (Manchester United), Phil Neville (Everton), Wes Brown (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham Hotspur), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Kieran Richardson (Manchester United), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Scott Parker (Newcastle United).

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Andrew Johnson (Everton), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur).