Roy: No concerns on Carroll fitness

Free Press Series: West Ham striker Andy Carroll has only recently returned from a hamstring injury West Ham striker Andy Carroll has only recently returned from a hamstring injury

England boss Roy Hodgson has no worries about the fitness of striker Andy Carroll.

The West Ham forward has only just returned from a hamstring injury but such is the high regard Hodgson has for the 23-year-old, he has named him in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland on the back of that single substitutes' appearance at QPR on Monday.

"Andy played 23 minutes including injury-time on Monday and I am expecting him to play more minutes on Saturday against Arsenal, either from the start or coming on," said Hodgson. "He has another week after that so I don't think there is any reason for me to question his fitness."

Whereas Carroll is returning to the England fold, Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster is included for the first time.

The rare - in recent times - example of someone based in the Scottish Premier League being selected for the Three Lions is overshadowed by the introductions of Arsenal full-back Kieran Gibbs and Stoke's Ryan Shawcross and a recall for Aaron Lennon, plus a promise that Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson is being looked at very closely.

Gibbs already has two caps from Wembley friendlies against Hungary and France in 2010. Shawcross received his only previous call-up from Fabio Capello a couple of months before, but was never picked again by the Italian.

Hodgson said: "Jenkinson was a player we thought a lot about but decided we didn't have quite that many places. He is certainly a player we will think about for the future. Gibbs, Lennon and Shawcross are players we need to see at closer hand.

"There has to be some sort of rejuvenation process with the England team when a new coach comes in. I am very much aware that Brazil is two years down the road if we are good enough to get there. And in two years maybe these lads will be real stars in the Premier League."

Hodgson has retained a core of experience though. With Steven Gerrard suspended, Frank Lampard seems certain to skipper England against San Marino next Friday, and there are plenty of others Hodgson feels are capable of shouldering the burden of responsibility.

"We have enough leaders," he said. "Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are the captain and vice-captain. One can only hope there will be one or two who at the moment are in the early stages of their careers, who will emerge and show the same leadership qualities as John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard."

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