London: England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson named Everton’s injured striker Wayne Rooney on Monday in his 25-man squad for three upcoming matches.
Rooney, 17, is included despite suffering knee ligament damage in Everton’s final match of the season against Manchester United on Sunday, but there was no room for 39-year-old keeper David Seaman.
England play South Africa in Durban on May 22, Serbia and Montenegro in another friendly at Leicester on June 3 and Slovakia in their next Euro 2004 Group Seven qualifier at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium on June 11.
Players involved in next Saturday’s FA Cup final between Arsenal and Southampton will not travel to South Africa but will join the squad on their return.
Skipper David Beckham, who is suspended for the qualifier against Slovakia, will be rested for the friendly at Leicester after travelling to South Africa. As for Rooney, Eriksson said: “He’s doing a scan today and after that we’ll see what’s happening. But anyhow, he will come on Sunday to our hotel and there we’ll take a decision if he’s coming to South Africa or not.”
A day after West Ham United were relegated to the first division, their keeper David James kept his place as England’s number one at the expense of Seaman — who is considering his playing future.
Defender Sol Campbell is unavailable due to an Achilles injury, but Southampton striker James Beattie was recalled — along with West Ham midfielder Trevor Sinclair and Leicester City keeper Ian Walker.