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Last Updated: Sunday, 20 March, 2005, 19:22 GMT
Heskey earns recall for England
England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has recalled Emile Heskey to his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan.

Birmingham striker Heskey, 27, has been pushing for a recall and Eriksson has brought him back while dropping Manchester United's Alan Smith.

Fellow forward Andy Johnson has kept his place in the squad but the axe has also fallen on Darius Vassell.

England play Northern Ireland on 26 March and Azerbaijan on 30 March.

Newcastle midfielder Nicky Butt is another not to be included in the 24-man squad along with Heskey's club team-mate and central defender Matthew Upson.

Eriksson spoke to Magpies boss Graeme Souness about Butt and both decided the player needed more time to build up his fitness after recently returning from injury.

Heskey has not featured in an England squad since pulling out of the friendly against Ukraine in August 2004 with an injury.

But he has been showing improved form of late and has scored six goals in his last 10 Premiership outings, including the opener in his side's derby win over Aston Villa on Sunday.

Johnson has been included despite a foot injury and is set to miss the first couple of days of training.

Central defender Sol Campbell is out through injury for the games against Northern Ireland at Old Trafford and Azerbaijan at St James' Park.

England squad:

Goalkeepers: David James (Manchester City), Paul Robinson (Tottenham Hotspur), Robert Green (Norwich City).

Defenders: John Terry (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), Jamie Carragher (Liverpool), Ashley Cole (Arsenal), Gary Neville (Manchester United), Wes Brown (Manchester United), Phil Neville (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich, Germany), Joe Cole (Chelsea), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Kieron Dyer (Newcastle United), Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle United), David Beckham (Real Madrid, Spain).

Forwards: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Andy Johnson (Crystal Palace) Michael Owen (Real Madrid, Spain), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur), Emile Heskey (Birmingham City).

Interview: England's Joe Cole

Report: BBC Five Live's Mike Ingham

Interview: Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

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