Jermain Defoe has been called up as part of the England squad that will face Germany and Lithuania later this month, following a string of injuries, as reported by BBC Sport. The Sunderland striker has played 55 times for the Three Lions, but the last came back in November 2013 against Chile and has 19 goals to his name. He will be joined by an uncapped quartet, with Southampton duo James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond included alongside Burnley’s Michael Keane and West Ham sensation Michail Antonio.

On-fire Defoe

Defoe has been in exceptional form for the Black Cats this season, netting 14 times in the league, just five behind the Premier League leading goal scorer Harry Kane.

The 34-year-old will likely take over his fellow countryman after the Spurs star was ruled out for up to six weeks with an ankle injury suffered against Millwall in the FA Cup, according to Bleacher Report. England are also missing Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge, allowing Marcus Rashford the chance to build on his six caps and one goal.

Despite the United youngster’s struggles in front of goal this campaign, with just three in the league, his energy and pace continue to be a thorn in opponent’s sides and will cause problems for the reigning World Cup holders, Germany.

No Walcott but Shaw included

There were other surprise inclusions in the squad with Saints pair Redmond and Ward-Prowse receiving call-ups, having impressed in the under-21 side for the past few years, mainly under the current senior England head coach Gareth Southgate.

While Keane’s performances at the back for Burnley have earned him rave reviews, not least from Premier League leaders Chelsea, as per the Metro, as has Antonio for the Hammers, the surprise inclusion of Luke Shaw will have some fans scratching their heads. The United left-back has only featured once in the English top flight since October, with questions over his relationship with Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho.

Yet, Southgate sees the upcoming fixtures as a trial period and a chance to give some players a chance to see what they can do in England colours, with Arsenal’s Theo Walcott among those left out. “I didn’t see him [Walcott] featuring in the games this week and I needed to look at one or two other players that I don’t know too much about.”

The Three Lions will travel to Westfalenstadion in Dortmund for their friendly against Germany on Wednesday before hosting Lithuania in the World Cup qualifiers at Wembley on Sunday 26th March.