Lescott wins first call-up into England squad

September 3, 2007

Everton defender Joleon Lescott has been drafted into the England squad for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia.

The 25-year-old has been in excellent early-season form for the Toffees, scoring twice in victories at Tottenham and Bolton.

Lescott's call-up follows the withdrawal of Portsmouth defender Sol Campbell due to a hamstring injury.

Lescott joined Everton from Wolves, where he began his professional career, in June 2006.

Lescott comes into a squad shorn of some more familiar faces in international terms.

As well as Campbell, Jamie Carragher has retired from international football, Tottenham captain Ledley King is injured and Middlesbrough defender Jonathan Woodgate was not considered after only just returning to action from injury.

The Birmingham-born Lescott has been key to Everton's good start to the new Premier League season having climbed to third.

Everton boss David Moyes certainly has no doubts over the player's international credentials and told the Liverpool Echo last week: 'Lescott won't let England down at centre-back or left-back.

'We'll keep pushing him and keep trying to get him in, but my job's hard enough without trying to pick the England team.

'But he doesn't get beaten, he doesn't get run, his use of the ball could be better but if you go away and hope your boys at the back will keep you in the game Joleon will certainly do that for you.'

Lescott was included in the B squad which faced Albania on May 25, coming on as a substitute.

England manager Steve McClaren revealed he had been impressed by the defender's performances for the Toffees so far this season and believes his versatility will be a valuable asset.

He told the FA's website: 'Joleon has been looking very solid for Everton this season, and has also scored a couple of goals, too.

'He is big and strong and is a threat at set-pieces as well, but as a defender he makes life very difficult for strikers. His versatility also means he is a good option as he can play in the middle of the defence or at full-back.

'He came on as a sub for the B team at Burnley in May and looked assured and I think he's very capable of making the step up to the full team.'