England manager Gareth Southgate has praised Jermain Defoe’s enduring effectiveness after recalling the evergreen Sunderland striker for next week’s fixtures against Germany and Lithuania.
Defoe, 34, is in line for a first cap since November 2013 after his 14 Premier League goals for the struggling Black Cats earned him the nod over the rusty Wayne Rooney, Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck.
West Brom midfielder Jake Livermore has also been recalled, less than two years after he tested positive for cocaine, while Southampton pair Nathan Redmond and James Ward-Prowse have received their first call-ups.
Burnley defender Michael Keane and West Ham winger Michail Antonio are the other uncapped players in the squad.
“Year after year he’s phenomenal, but this year in particular, in a team that aren’t creating as many chances as other teams, his strike rate is outstanding,” Southgate said of Defoe.
“I didn’t want to just look at his age and think he’s finished with England. He’s somebody who is immensely proud to have represented England at every age group.
"I think you get young players with a point to prove and older players with a point to prove.”
Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford is also among the 25-man party, with Southgate unable to call on strikers Harry Kane and Daniel Sturridge due to injury and declining the likes of Rooney due to a lack of match practice.
United defender Luke Shaw is included despite a shortage of recent game-time but Arsenal winger Theo Walcott is omitted.
“Theo has a really valid claim for being included,” Southgate added. “That’s a really tough call on him and one I don’t expect him to be chuffed to bits about.”
England face Germany in a friendly in Dortmund on Wednesday before hosting Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier four days later at Wembley.