England manager Roy Hodgson has included 18-year-old striker Marcus Rashford in a 26-man provisional squad for Euro 2016,
Also included are midfielders Jack Wilshere and Jordan Henderson, both of whom have only just returned from injury, but there is no place for Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.
Rashford’s inclusion represents a major breakthrough for a teenager who only made his debut for United in February and has scored seven goals in 16 matches.
“[Rashford is] one of the contenders, of course,” said Hodgson, who will trim his squad down to 23 players by May 31. “The competition is quite strong, he’ll understand that. He deserves to be selected in this larger squad.
“It will be interesting to see what he can do, it may only be for one week, but I am pleased that he has had such a good end to the season. It’s great to be able to include him. There’s no reason why he can’t knock someone off their perch, but it will be harder than some people might expect.”
Hodgson watched Wilshere make his first start in almost a year in Arsenal’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa and while it was just a third appearance of the season for the 24-year-old, he was a mainstay of the qualifying campaign. Likewise Henderson, who returned to the Liverpool starting line-up on Sunday after missing over a month with a knee injury.
Walcott, whose England career dates back to the 2006 World Cup but who missed out on the subsequent two World Cups, again misses out on a major tournament. Meanhile Andros Townsend, who last played for England in October, is preferred despite the his side, Newcastle, suffering relegation.
Hodgson has selected seven defenders but just three centre-backs with Tottenham’s Eric Dier expected to provide cover from midfield.
Danny Drinkwater, who made his international debut in England’s friendly match against Holland in March, earns a place by virtue of his key role in Leicester City’s title-winning season.
England’s 26-man provisional squad for Euro 2016:
Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton (Burnley), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Manchester City)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Everton), Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Everton), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester City), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United). Jack Wilshere (Arsenal)
Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United)