Michael Owen has been included in England’s squad for their Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia, despite question marks over over his fitness.
Owen, 27, has yet to played for his club Newcastle since undergoing groin surgery last month, but he hopes to be able to face Everton on Sunday.
But coach Steve McClaren has named him in a squad which also includes West Ham striker Dean Ashton, who has recently returned to full fitness after being sidelined for over 12 months.
Chelsea’s Frank Lampard is also included, despite missing recent games with a thigh injury.
Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney is back in the squad after recovering from a broken foot, and he is expected to replace Wigan’s Emile Heskey, who has suffered a similar injury.
“It’s incredible Michael is fit,” said McClaren. “It looked an impossibility two or three weeks ago, but he has had the op, worked one-on-one with his physio and joins up again with Newcastle on Friday.
“Hopefully he will be fit to play for Newcastle on Sunday against Everton and then play in our two games.
“He says he is flying, feeling very very good. If Michael Owen is fit, Michael Owen will play.”
Robinson (Tottenham), James (Portsmouth), Carson (Aston Villa), Richards (Manchester City), Brown (Manchester United), Ferdinand (Manchester United), Terry (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Campbell (Portsmouth), Neville (Everton), Shorey (Reading), Lescott (Everton), Bentley (Blackburn), Gerrard (Liverpool), Lampard (Chelsea), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Barry (Aston Villa), Downing (Middlesbrough), Young (Aston Villa), Smith (Newcastle), Owen (Newcastle), Crouch (Liverpool), Johnson (Everton), Defoe (Tottenham), Rooney (Manchester United), Ashton (West Ham).