Wilshere can be crucial but Hart faces battle, says England boss Southgate

Midfielders: Eric Dier, Dele Alli, Jesse Lingard, Lewis Cook, Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere, Jake Livermore.

Among the uncapped players looking to land call-ups are Callum Wilson, Glenn Murray and Ashley Barnes, while Joe Hart's lack of Premier League game time this season has led to calls in some quarters to elevate the in-form Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope.

Swansea City's Alfie Mawson is also included for the first time, along with Burnley defender James Tarkowski.

England travel to face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 23 before taking on Italy at Wembley on March 27.

Southgate said: "Clearly it's a really serious matter and it's developing very quickly".

And now, according to the Times, Gareth Southgate will go through some final checks with Burnley regarding Tarkowski's fitness before handing him his first worldwide opportunity ahead of the World Cup; and it wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility that he could then be called up for the competition in the summer.

Jamie Vardy is in good form, but the recall for Danny Welbeck showed the paucity of options, despite the Arsenal attacker boasting the most goals in the squad (15).

However, Southgate did reveal the No1 jersey is 100 per cent up for grabs, with Joe Hart still wrestling for control of the starting berth between the sticks.

And Southgate earmarked Wilshere as a player that can be crucial to the kind of football he wants the Three Lions to play.

"Jack is a player that has unquestionable talent", said Southgate. It was a very hard call, he's a player I respect and has played a lot of qualifiers.

The 26-year-old is joined by struggling West Ham loanee Joe Hart, who keeps his place despite fellow goalkeeper Pope's inclusion.

"He's got a great number of caps and he's the most experienced keeper in our squad so we wanted to keep him around".

Meanwhile, Gunners team-mate Danny Welbeck will provide cover in attack for regular starter Harry Kane, who is sidelined until next month after suffering an ankle injury against Bournemouth.

However, Southgate added: "I think there are a few players not in this squad who are certainly not out of our mind".

  • Stacy Allen