Ince called up for England U21 qualifiers

Blackpool star Thomas Ince, the son of former England hero Paul Ince, has been called up by England U21s for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers with Azerbaijan and Norway.

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Ince in action against Ipswich (PA)

The attacker, who scored twice in a 6-0 routing of Ipswich at the weekend, and Leicester City winger Ben Marshall earn their first call-ups.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Butland looked set to continue as senior players for England at the start of their World Cup qualifying campaign after being left out of the squad.

But Jack Rodwell and Steven Caulker have dropped back down a level after being selected by Roy Hodgson for this month's friendly win over Italy.

The duo joined U21 captain Jordan Henderson and Martin Kelly as those with senior experience in Stuart Pearce's 23-man party.

Caulker, Craig Dawson, Danny Rose, Marvin Sordell and Jason Steele were all picked having also been part of Pearce's Great Britain squad for the Olympics.

Pearce said: "We have two new players but, apart from that, we have 21 other players that have been in the squad before, and one or two of them have been with us in the Olympics as well.

"The fact that we are only three league games into the domestic season makes selection difficult but within that time the likes of Thomas Ince and Ben Marshall have done extremely well to force their way into the squad."

England currently sit top of Group 8 and wins over Azerbaijan in Baku on September 6 and over second-placed Norway in Chesterfield four days later would secure a play-off double header in October for a place at next summer's Euro 2013 finals.

Pearce added: "We have put ourselves in a good position within the group, but we know full well that we are taking on an improving Azerbaijan side."

Squad: Ben Amos (Manchester United), Declan Rudd (Norwich), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough); Ryan Bennett (Norwich), Steven Caulker (Tottenham), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Brom), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Ben Marshall (Leicester) Danny Rose (Tottenham), Adam Smith (Tottenham); Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Thomas Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace); Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton), Connor Wickham (Sunderland), Martyn Waghorn (Leicester)

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