LONDON - Southampton defender Nathaniel Clyne has been included in an England squad for the first time, the latest player from the Premier League club to be rewarded with an international call-up in the last year.
Southampton has been a surprise package, sitting second in the Premier League despite an off-season exodus of talent, including Luke Shaw to Manchester United. While right back Clyne has been promoted from the under-21s for European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia, Shaw has been demoted to the younger squad after going to the World Cup.
"I'm delighted to get the England call up it's a proud moment for me and I can't wait to get started," the 23-year-old Clyne, who has scored twice in eight appearances for Southampton this season, wrote on Twitter.
There was also a surprise call-up for Swansea midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, whose only England appearance came two years ago.
Coach Roy Hodgson did not call up Daniel Sturridge despite the Liverpool striker being set to return from a thigh injury this weekend against West Bromwich Albion. Sturridge was injured in training with England during the last international break and has not played for Liverpool since.
"Unfortunately injuries happen and we all accept it so there are no problems or conflict there at all (with Liverpool)," Hodgson said at Wembley Stadium.
Captain Wayne Rooney will play his only matches this month on England duty after the Manchester United forward was banned for three matches for a straight red card.
Qualifying for Euro 2016 should be smooth for England after opening with a win in Switzerland last month. England hosts San Marino next Thursday at Wembley before travelling to Estonia to play in Tallinn on Sunday, Oct. 12.
The top two teams qualify for the finals in France, with the third-place team guaranteed at least a playoff place.
The English Football Association announced Thursday that the team will play a friendly away at Italy on March 31, with the venue yet to be confirmed. A return fixture at Wembley will take place between 2016 and 2018.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Ben Foster (West Bromwich Albion), Joe Hart (Manchester City).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), John Stones (Everton).
Midfielders: Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), James Milner (Manchester City), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Jonjo Shelvey (Swansea City), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Rickie Lambert (Liverpool), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Welbeck (Arsenal).