Everton starlet Stones set for shock England call-up

The rookie Toffees defender is set to be named in Roy Hodgson’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad alongside fellow youngsters Raheem Sterling and Luke Shaw, plus Adam Lallana

By Wayne Veysey

Everton defender John Stones is in line for a shock call-up to England’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad, Goal has learned.

The Toffees rookie has rocketed up the centre-back pecking order since replacing the injured Phil Jagielka for the Merseysiders.

England manager Roy Hodgson was at Craven Cottage on Sunday to watch Stones deliver an assured display in Everton’s 3-1 win at Fulham.

It was only 19-year-old Stones’s ninth Premier League start but Hodgson is believed to have been so impressed by the former Barnsley player in recent weeks that he is ready to name him in his 30-man provisional squad in May, a party who will play three friendlies ahead of the World Cup.

The Three Lions boss is expected to announce a surprisingly youthful extended squad, with international newcomers Raheem Sterling, Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana given further chance to maintain their impressive progress this season.

Versatile Liverpool full-back Jon Flanagan is also in Hodgson’s thinking but he is competing for a place in arguably the most competitive position in the squad.

Meanwhile, Andy Carroll is back in contention for a seat on the plane to Brazil after putting his injury troubles behind him with a series of encouraging displays for West Ham. The powerhouse striker is understood to be ahead of Southampton pair Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez in the reckoning for a forward role.

Hodgson will place considerable store in club form over the final weeks of the season as he mulls over the marginal decisions before naming his 30-man provisional squad in the middle of May.

England host Peru at Wembley on May 30 before heading to their pre-tournament base in Miami, where they will play Ecuador on June 4 and Honduras on June 7.

Hodgson will then cut seven players from the original list and name a 23-man squad to travel from the United States to Brazil for the World Cup.

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