England squad announcement: Jermain Defoe retains place, Jordan Pickford heads to Under-21 training camp

Bournemouth-bound Jermain Defoe has retained his place in the England squad, while Jordan Pickford has been named in a training squad ahead of the Under-21 European Championships.

Thursday, 25th May 2017, 12:23 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 7:51 pm
Jermain Defoe scored for England in March

Defoe's form for Sunderland this season earned him an international recall in March with the 34-year-old striker netting against Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier win.

The striker scored 15 goals for relegated Sunderland but is on the verge of leaving the club on a free for Bournemouth.

Defoe has a clause in his contract which allows him to leave Wearside on a free in the wake of relegation to the Championship, with Eddie Howe's Cherries on the verge of capturing his signature. A bumper three-year deal is understood to have been agreed.

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For now, he remains a Sunderland player and he will be representing England again this summer under boss Gareth Southgate when they face Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park on June 10 on and France in a friendly on June 13.

Uncapped Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson, who was drafted into the squad for March’s game against Lithuania, retains his place in the squad.

Southgate said: "The Scotland game is one of football’s great fixtures.

"We’re in a place in the group where a win can really put us in a very strong position, and that’s what we want to achieve.

"France is a great challenge for us. Our ambition with our friendly matches is to play the best possible teams – we’ve done that by playing Spain and Germany already.

"They’re teams we want to test ourselves against and these are great opportunities to learn and improve.

"A game away in the Stade de France will be a brilliant occasion for the players."

England have named four goalkeepers in the senior squad with Joe Hart, Fraser Forster, Tom Heaton and Jack Butland all involved but there is no place for Pickford, who will instead be playing for England Under-21s in the this summer’s UEFA European Championships.

Pickford has been called up to a training camp ahead of the tournament where manager Aidy Boothroyd will assess his options at St George’s Park before narrowing his options down further.

Boothroyd has invited 28 players to the national football centre, where they will spend five days together training and focusing on the trip to Poland.

The Young Lions have already had two shorter training camps in the last two weeks to cater for players in the group from the Championship, whose season finished a fortnight earlier than those in the Premier League.

And this get-together will give Boothroyd a chance to fully assess his options before naming his final 23-man squad for the trip to Poland ahead of the UEFA deadline on 6 June, with that group re-convening again at St. George’s Park between 7 and 10 June.

Boothroyd said: "We’re really looking forward to seeing everybody again and things will start to crank up a notch.

"It’s good to get them all back in together, get re-focused and make sure we’re prepared properly for the Euros.

"We’ve got players at different stages, we have lads who have played 40-game seasons who will need a different sort of conditioning to the guys who have played nine or ten games.

"And we have players who have been coming off the bench and playing bit-parts for their teams and players who have played in different leagues as well, so we have a real mix in terms of fitness levels."