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28th Aug 2016

Sam Allardyce names Michail Antonio in first England squad – and Rooney is officially a midfielder

The Three Lions play Slovakia next week

Rob Burnett

Sam Allardyce has named West Ham’s Michail Antonio in his first England squad.

The Three Lions will take on Slovakia next Sunday in their first match since the shocking defeat to Iceland that saw them dumped out of Euro 2016 in France.

It is also the first match of Allardyce’s tenure in the top job in the country after he replaced Roy Hodgson.

And in a squad full of England regulars there is room for first call-up for West Ham man Michail Antonio.

The 26-year-old has had a great start to the season with the Hammers. He scored the winner against Bournemouth in the first Premier League game at West Ham’s new home, the London Stadium.

And then he netted again on Sunday in the 3-1 defeat at Manchester City.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 28:  Michail Antonio of West Ham United scores his team's opening goal during the Premier League match between Manchester City and West Ham United at Etihad Stadium on August 28, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)


Allardyce said: “I think he’s in outstanding form.

“This is another lad with a great journey – it’s a fantastic journey that he’s been on, from non-league to now an international call-up. He scored nine goals in his first season and he’s a terrific athlete, a good crosser and a goal-scorer.

“I’m looking forward to him coming, and looking forward to meeting everybody. Hopefully we will have a good few days’ preparation and get to know each other on the basis of trying to go and win in Slovakia.”

Elsewhere it appears that Wayne Rooney’s days as a striker for England may be over – the captain has been named in Allardyce’s squad, but as a midfielder, not a forward.

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27:  Wayne Rooney of England in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)


Theo Walcott also makes it – again as one of the midfield players, while the striker slots are filled by Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Jamie Vardy.

John Stones also makes the list after his £47m move from Everton to Manchester City earlier this month, and there is a return for Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw who spent most of the last year out injured after breaking his leg in a Champions league match at PSV.

There is no place for Everton’s Ross Barkley, but Leicester City’s midfield anchorman Danny Drinkwater returns to the squad having missed out on going to the Euros.

Joe Hart retains his place in the squad despite being dropped by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. He will compete with Southampton’s Fraser Forster and Tom Heaton of Burnley for the starting spot next week.

The full squad:

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