England squad: Gareth Southgate recalls Ollie Watkins for Australia and Italy games

Ollie Watkins celebrates
Ollie Watkins has scored four goals and contributed three assists in seven Premier League games this season

England manager Gareth Southgate has recalled Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins for October’s games against Australia and Italy at Wembley.

Watkins, who last featured for England in March 2022, continued his impressive start to the season with a hat-trick against Brighton on Saturday.

Chelsea forward Raheem Sterling is left out of a fourth successive squad.

England play Australia in a friendly on 13 October and Italy in a Euro 2024 qualifier on 17 October.

Watkins, 27, said he did not think he could “do any more” to earn a recall after taking his tally to seven goals and three assists in 11 games this season.

“Ollie has started the season well, he’s hit a bit of scoring form in the last couple of weeks. You have to be careful with that because you can’t just go on recency bias with selection,” Southgate said.

“But he is in good form and obviously coming in on a high and he’s been with us before so we know his character, his personality. He is a good guy around the group.”

West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen, called up to the England squad for the first time in May 2022, returns after missing out on September’s squad.

Bukayo Saka is also included, despite Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta describing the winger’s latest injury as “a worry” after he went off with a muscular problem after 34 minutes against Lens on Tuesday.

England’s perfect Euro 2024 qualifying record was ended by a 1-1 draw with Ukraine in September, which they followed with a 3-1 friendly win over Scotland.

Having received their first call-ups to the England squad for September’s fixtures, Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah and Chelsea centre-back Levi Colwill are both named again.

Jordan Henderson, picked after leaving Liverpool to join Saudi Arabian side Al-Ettifaq in July, also retains his place in Southgate’s squad, as does Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire. He made his first start of the season in a 3-0 Carabao Cup victory over Crystal Palace on 26 September.

England beat Italy 2-1 in Naples on the opening matchday in March and have the opportunity to strengthen their position at the top of Group C.

Southgate’s side are six points clear, although second-placed Italy have played one game fewer.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone, Jordan Pickford, Aaron Ramsdale

Defenders: Levi Colwill, Lewis Dunk, Marc Guehi, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Conor Gallagher, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice

Forwards: Jarred Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, James Maddison, Eddie Nketiah, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Ollie Watkins

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Source: BBC News

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