Everton midfielder Tom Cleverley was drafted into the England squad by manager Roy Hodgson to replace Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Ryan Mason, within half-an-hour before agreeing a new five-year deal with his new club Toffees, after joining from Manchester United.
Mason withdrew from the squad with a knee injury, which is believed to be not serious enough to affect the 23-year-old’s pre-season participations.
However, the injury, while training at St George’s Park this week, meant that Mason had to return to Spurs this weekend for treatment and therefore will miss England’s upcoming international friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday and their UEFA EURO 2016 qualifier against Slovenia on the following Sunday.
That opened the way for Cleverley, who has not played for his nation since November 2013, after featuring in The Three Lions’ first nine matches under Hodgson after UEFA EURO 2012, before losing his place after a dip in form for United.
Cleverley, who has been capped 13 times by England so far, was named on the standby list for the 2014 FIFA World Cup but did not make the final 23 even though Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a knee injury in the penultimate warm-up match against Ecuador in Miami.
Just last week Hodgson was enthusing over Cleverley’s form at Aston Villa, whom he played for last season while on loan from United, where he scored three goals in the club’s final three games of last season to help the Villa Park side avoid relegation from the English Premier League.
The England boss also said that Cleverley would be the first person to be called up should any injuries occur.
“Cleverley was very unlucky to miss out on this selection,” Hodgson said a week after leaving the midfielder out of his squad for the games in Dublin and Ljubljana.
“He was someone we discussed a lot. We like him, trust him, we can call him up like that if we want. If someone else went down we have Tom up our sleeves.”
Having now been called up to the 23-man squad, stands a chance of earning his 14th cap in Sunday’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland and in the EURO 2016 qualifier in Slovenia seven days later.