England manager Gareth Southgate gave second chances to Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana on Thursday, naming the previously excluded pair to his 23-man squad for upcoming matches against Spain and Switzerland.
Other notable selections include 21-year-old Liverpool defender Joe Gomez, Burnley center-back James Tarkowski, and Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy.
Gomez, Lallana, and Tarkowski were all on the standby list for the World Cup, while McCarthy has yet to be capped by the Three Lions.
Ashley Young failed to make the cut despite earning five starts at the 2018 World Cup. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck, however, retained their places.
“With us only being three games into the season, I felt some continuity was important,” Southgate told reporters. “Those who were with us in the summer deserve the right to go again.”
Shaw, who last appeared for his country in a March 2017 friendly against Germany, started in each of Manchester United’s first three Premier League matches.
Jose Mourinho publicly criticized Shaw’s work ethic and conditioning over the past two years, but a newfound fitness regime put the 23-year-old in shape during the close season.
“He’s had a difficult period in terms of adapting to a new club and a horrendous injury,” Southgate added, per BBC Sport. “I’m really impressed with his physical condition. He’s shown an extra edge (in recent games). He’s shown aggression and a desire not to lose and is looking back to his powerful best.”
Southgate resisted calls to award the 18-year-old midfielders Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho their first senior call-ups. They’ve impressed for Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund despite limited roles at their respective clubs.
England open their Nations League campaign Sept. 8 against Spain before facing Switzerland three days later in a friendly at the King Power Stadium.