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Thursday, January 31, 2008
Capello names provisional 30-man England squad

David Beckham has been left out of England manager Fabio Capello's first squad but Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor has been included.

Capello has told Beckham - who was hoping to win his 100th cap - that he only wants players who are match-fit.

Apart from Agbonlahor the other new face in the 30-man provisional squad to face Switzerland in a friendly international at Wembley on Wednesday is Villa team-mate Curtis Davies - currently on loan from West Brom.

Davies said: 'I'm completely shocked but absolutely delighted. I wasn't thinking about England from my perspective at all. I was thinking about those who might get into Mr Capello's first squad, but I didn't think I'd be one of them. I'm really happy.

'When I got the news I thought it was a wind-up. I had to check several times before I realised the message was genuine. I really didn't have a clue I'd be called up.

'It makes the waiting to get in the side during the first part of the season all worthwhile.

Other inclusions of interest are Villa winger Ashley Young, who made his England debut against Austria in November, and Blackburn's David Bentley, who profits from Beckham's absence, while a key omission is goalkeeper Paul Robinson.

Capello said: 'I know there has been a lot of discussion about David Beckham. The reason that David is not in the squad is because he has not had any real match practice since playing in November.

'When I spoke with David on the phone yesterday I advised him that he is still part of my plans and once he is playing regularly in America we will look closely at him again.'

He added: 'I have selected a squad of 30 players as I think it is important that all the players are equal from the beginning.

'There are a lot of games before we join up and I think it is better that we are prepared for any injuries. This way we are not expecting to call players up as late replacements when I name a 23-man squad on Saturday evening.

'Franco Baldini and I have been watching many games since we arrived in England and we have tried to see as many English players as possible before deciding on the squad. There were a number of players that we already knew about but there are many we have seen playing live for the first time.

'We will use the time between now and our first World Cup qualifying match in September to look at the players and find the best formula for the England team. I will also look at players who have not been included in the squad this time.

'I have also worked very closely with Stuart Pearce on squad selection and there are some players like Joe Hart, Aaron Lennon, Theo Walcott and David Wheater who are with the Under-21s this time because they have a very important qualification game against Ireland on Tuesday.

'In the future these are players that could feature in the senior squad. I believe it is very important for everyone that the Under-21 team does well and I want to help them achieve success with Stuart.

'I will go to the Manchester City - Arsenal match on Saturday, while Franco Baldini will watch Tottenham - Manchester United before I name the final 23-man squad on Saturday.'

Michael Owen is included despite speculation his lack of form might cost him a place, while Wigan's Emile Heskey, Liverpool's Peter Crouch and Manchester United's Wayne Rooney complete the strikers.

Capello has named 12 defenders and apart from the usual names West Ham's Matthew Upson, Portsmouth's Glen Johnson and Jonathan Woodgate, who has just signed for Tottenham, are all included.

There five Aston Villa players named, the same number as Manchester United, and three come Tottenham.

Provisional England squad for the friendly against Switzerland on February 6:

Carson (Aston Villa), James (Portsmouth), Kirkland (Wigan); Bridge (Chelsea), Brown (Manchester United), A Cole (Chelsea), C Davies (Aston Villa), Ferdinand (Manchester United) G Johnson (Portsmouth), King (Tottenham), Lescott (Everton), Richards (Manchester City), Shorey (Reading), Upson (West Ham), Woodgate (Tottenham); Barry (Aston Villa), Bentley (Blackburn), Carrick (Manchester United), J Cole (Chelsea), Downing (Middlesbrough), Gerrard (Liverpool), Hargreaves (Manchester United), Jenas (Tottenham), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Young (Aston Villa); Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Crouch (Liverpool), Heskey (Wigan), Owen (Newcastle), Rooney (Manchester United).

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