Rashford, Lingard included in England squad

‘I’m being criticized for dribbling, but it’s my best skill’ – Neymar

In his first pick as interim England manager, Gareth Southgate has drafted the Manchester United duo of Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard in the national squad. 

In addition to Rashford and Lingard, Southgate has also brought in Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Stoke's Glen Johnson and Southampton's Ryan Bertrand for England’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta on Saturday and Slovenia next Tuesday. 

Johnson is back in the England side for the first time since the 2014 World Cup, while Oxlade-Chamberlain makes his comeback after a year out due to injury woes. 

There was no place in the side for the Liverpool pair of Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne after they sustained injuries during the Reds’ 2-1 win over Swansea on Saturday. 

Rashford impressed during Euro 2016 and scored a hat-trick on debut for the England Under-21 side in their match against Norway last month. 

Lingard, meanwhile, remains uncapped despite being included in the squad for an international friendly against France in 2015. 

"We've tried to keep some continuity from last month, because my view would be that there are a lot of things that have been going right," Southgate told the FA website. "We've had a few people unavailable through injury like Harry Kane and Jack Butland, and we've lost a couple over the weekend in Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne, while Luke Shaw isn't quite back fit yet. That's had a bearing on the squad.

"There are obviously a couple of players that I've worked with in the U21s in Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, who we think are exciting young players who we wanted to put in this squad.

"It's obviously been a difficult week in a number of ways. However, we are in a position now where it's important to get the squad named. I'm looking forward now to working with the players, because it's important that we build on the performance and the result against Slovakia [a 1-0 victory]."

Southgate succeeded Sam Allardyce as England manager on a temporary basis after the latter was sacked following a sting operation by The Telegraph, in which he revealed how get around third-party ownership of players. 

England squad to play Malta and Slovenia: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino), Tom Heaton (Burnley); Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Stoke), Danny Rose (Tottenham), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham); Eric Dier (Tottenham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal),  Dele Alli (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Man Utd), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool),  Jamie Vardy (Leicester).

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