England coach Fabio Capello has made several surprise selections in his preliminary 30-man World Cup squad.

Uncapped duo Adam Johnson and Michael Dawson both feature along with Dawson’s Tottenham team-mate Tom Huddlestone.

Jamie Carragher comes out of international retirement, while fellow defender Ledley King and the injured Gareth Barry have also been picked.

Stephen Warnock, Scott Parker and Darren Bent are chosen, with the final 23-man squad to be announced by 1 June.

Under Fifa regulations, Capello is permitted to bring players into his 23-man squad who were not included in the preliminary party.

But that would be an unusual move, meaning the final party he takes to this summer’s finals in South Africa is likely to come from the one he has already named.

England play Mexico at Wembley on 24 May and Japan in Austria six days later as part of a pre-tournament training camp.

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That will provide Capello with time to work with a much-changed squad and put the finishing touches to his preparations.

The Italian revealed he tried to persuade Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes to come out of international retirement, but failed.

“We tried to convince him to return but he said no, he’d prefer to stay with his family,” revealed the former Real Madrid and AC Milan manager.

Capello has included 23-year-old Joe Hart among his three goalkeepers after the Manchester City player enjoyed an outstanding season on loan at Birmingham.

Like Hart, left-backs Leighton Baines of Everton and Aston Villa’s Warnock have one senior cap to their names and are graduates of the England Under-21 side.

But for cover at right-back and central defence, Capello has opted for experience with the return of versatile Liverpool defender Carragher, who appeared at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup before retiring in the summer of 2007.

With doubts over the fitness of Rio Ferdinand, and Wes Brown and Joleon Lescott ruled out through injury, Capello and assistant Franco Baldini managed to persuade Carragher into reversing his decision.

“The FA got in touch a few weeks ago and asked if I would have a rethink, due to injury problems,” said the 32-year-old, who won his first senior cap in April 1999. “I said I would make myself available.

“The World Cup and Champions League are the highest levels of football. I’m not getting any younger, we have no Champions League football (at Liverpool) next season and I am keen to work under Fabio Capello.”

Despite a chronic knee problem, King’s selection was widely predicted after the Tottenham captain’s fine run of form in helping his club finish fourth in the Premier League.

Jamie Carragher playing for England against Brazil in June 2007

Liverpool defender Carragher already has 34 England caps to his name

“Ledley King is one of the best England defenders,” Capello told BBC Radio 5 live. “He played four games in the last 15 days and told us he had no problems with his knee.

“My fitness coach is really good and knows everything. We will speak with Tottenham’s fitness coach to know what Ledley is able to do but there are no problems.”

Dawson, King’s centre-half partner at White Hart Lane, has been rewarded for a tremendous season and will now hope to add some senior caps to his 13 under-21 appearances.

“I’ve been involved with England a number of times over the years but have unfortunately never won a cap,” said Dawson.

“When you’re playing for a top football club, as I have been this season, on a regular basis and putting in good performances, there’s always that chance of playing for England. Luckily enough, I’ve got the call.”

There was plenty of speculation over whether Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole would be selected but the 28-year-old has bounced back impressively from cruciate knee ligament damage and a poor run of form.

“I followed Joe Cole for a long time when he was injured and when he started to play he was not so good,” Capello admitted. “But now he’s fit and every game he has played with us he has always been good.”

Capello’s other wide options include fit-again Aaron Lennon of Tottenham, Arsenal’s Theo Walcott and Shaun Wright-Phillips of Manchester City.

Bobby Zamora

Former England Under-21 international Zamora has been in prolific form

He was reportedly set to omit Barry because of the ankle injury that will keep him out until the start of June but the Manchester City midfielder, who has won 20 of his 36 caps under Capello and played in eight of England’s 10 World Cup qualifiers, has been included and will have a fitness check on 24 May.

There were rumours England might turn to Owen Hargreaves, the man Barry replaced in the team in September 2007, but a knee problem has restricted the Manchester United midfielder to only one minute of first-team football in 19 months.

Manchester City’s Johnson, Huddlestone, West Ham’s Parker and Villa’s James Milner are also rewarded for fine seasons.

“I met with Hargreaves twice in Manchester but he’s not fit to play and hasn’t played in 18 months,” said Capello. “I trusted him but the last decision was his. I hope he’ll be fit for the European Championship qualifiers in the autumn.”

Fulham’s Bobby Zamora and West Ham’s Carlton Cole both missed out on a striking berth, with Sunderland’s 25-goal frontman Bent, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe of Spurs joining Villa’s Emile Heskey and prolific Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney.

“Zamora was a really important player but we spoke with him and he has a big problem with his Achilles,” Capello added. “He said he can’t play because he can’t train every day.”

The World Cup runs from 11 June to 11 July and England open their Group C campaign against the United States in Rustenburg on 12 June before facing Algeria on 16 June and Slovenia on 23 June.


England’s 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup finals:

Goalkeepers: Joe Hart (Manchester City), David James (Portsmouth), Robert Green (West Ham).

Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Ledley King (Tottenham), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham), Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham), Adam Johnson (Manchester City), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), James Milner (Aston Villa), Scott Parker (West Ham), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City).

Forwards: Darren Bent (Sunderland), Peter Crouch (Tottenham), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).

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~ by thedirtytumbler on May 12, 2010.

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