Fraizer Campbell Receives First England Call-Up
Stuart Pearce sprung few surprises with his first England squad, yet made further efforts to move away from the so-called golden generation.
Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard were both absent from the 25-man squad while there was a first call-up for Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell. No promotion, however, was afforded to Arsenal's impressive winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Micah Richards, constantly left out in the cold under Fabio Capello despite excellent displays for Manchester City, was recalled to the squad. Tom Cleverley, along with Campbell, is the only other uncapped player.
One of Fleet Street's men on the England beat is already perplexed:
Campbell only recently returned from an 18-month injury lay-off for the Mackems. He scored on his return against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup before following that up with a stunning volley against Norwich City in a 3-0 league win.
Mediocrity has however managed to wrangle its way into Pearce's selection. Gary Cahill performed disastrously for Bolton Wanderers before his £7m switch to Chelsea last month, and has endured a difficult start to his Stamford Bridge career. Quite how Pearce has deemed him a superior option to the in-form Ferdinand is mystifying. Joleon Lescott, who was informed he would not be in the squad on Wednesday, is also another defender performing well.
Theo Walcott's credentials as a top-level player have repeatedly been questioned, and he is fortunate to make Pearce's list at the expense of club colleague Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has performed significantly better. Stewart Downing meanwhile has endured a woeful debut season at Liverpool. The ex-Middlesbrough winger has provided just two assists and notched one goal - all against lower league opposition - for the Merseyside team.