Townsend replaces injured Sterling in England squad
Injury has denied Raheem Sterling the chance to take his fine Manchester City form away with England.
The 21-year-old has responded remarkably to a tough Euro 2016 in which he called himself “the hated one”, flourishing under Pep Guardiola’s tutelage.
Sterling has scored five goals in 10 appearances for City this term, but an injury means the winger will miss interim manager Gareth Southgate’s first matches in charge against Malta and Slovenia.
Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend has been named as his replacement for the World Cup qualifiers, returning to the squad for the first time since the pre-Euro 2016 friendlies against Turkey and Australia.
The former Tottenham and Newcastle player will join the rest of the squad when they convene at St George’s Park on Tuesday lunchtime.
Southgate has now handed out six recalls after succeeding Sam Allardyce on a temporary basis, with Townsend joining Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Ryan Bertrand, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Glen Johnson.
The latter, now 32, was last seen in an England shirt in the 2014 World Cup and came in after an injury to Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne.
Adam Lallana, the only goalscorer of the Allardyce era, also misses out through injury, along with the likes of Danny Drinkwater, Harry Kane, Luke Shaw and Jack Butland.
England welcome Malta to Wembley on October 8, before travelling to Slovenia on October 11.