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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 14:24 GMT 15:24 UK
Eriksson calls up Dunn
Blackburn's David Dunn
Dunn has been impressive for the Under-21s
England v Portugal | Villa Park | Saturday, 7 September kick-off 1600 BST | Live on BBC Radio Five Live and BBC Sport Online

David Dunn has been called into England squad for Saturday's friendly against Portugal as a replacement for the injured Kieron Dyer.

The Blackburn midfielder has impressed for David Platt's Under-21 side, notably when he scored a superb goal against Holland in November 2001.

The former Under-21 captain Dunn was on stand-by for the World Cup squad over the summer.

He has also enjoyed a productive start to the new season, scoring last week in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool.

Dunn's club manager Graeme Souness believes the 22-year-old may be raw, but he is more than ready for his chance in the full squad.

"He has got tremendous natural ability, he is an extremely strong boy and he knows where he wants to be.

"He prefers to play in centre of midfield and he certainly thinks he is good enough to play at the highest level.

"England have some fantastic players, but in terms of raw ability he is up there with any of them you want to name.

"I know he is only young, but I believe he is good enough so let him get on with it and let's see what he can do.

"Like all boys that age he still doesn't fully understand what it is all about, but he wants to learn and as long as he keeps wanting to learn he will be a top player.

"But he is only 22 and someone of that age has got time on his side and he will learn the game and will become an England regular.

"This is an ideal opportunity for David to show what he is capable of. I think he is ready and I think he should be given a chance."

Dyer pulled out of the friendly after suffering from shin splints against Liverpool on Monday.

"We are withdrawing Kieron from the squad and informing the FA as he has had a recurrence of shin splints," said the Newcastle manager Bobby Robson.

"When he runs he is all right. But when he starts to walk he has intense pain and suffers spasms."

Dyer had been named in the first international squad of the new season by coach Sven-Goran Eriksson earlier on Monday.

The 23-year-old was hampered by a string of injuries last season, including shin splints, but he recovered from a knee injury to feature in the World Cup.

Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard will link up with the England squad on Tuesday despite fears that he may have to withdraw because of injury.

Gerrard missed the World Cup because of a groin problem and went down with an ankle injury during the match against Newcastle on Monday.

But the midfielder was able to carry on after treatment and his inclusion should be a relief for England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"The medical people will assess Steven but he can travel to join the England party," said Anfield assistant manager Phil Thompson.

Blackburn's David Dunn
"It's going to be a great experience"
England v Portugal news

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See also:

02 Sep 02 | Sports Talk
31 Jul 02 | Features
02 Sep 02 | Eng Prem
02 Sep 02 | Eng Prem
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