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Nugent gets England call-up for Euro qualifiers

19 March 2007 19:58

LONDON (AFP) - Preston striker David Nugent on Monday was called into the England squad for their Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra this week.

Coach Steve McClaren included Nugent in his 23-man squad after Darren Bent bowed out suffering from a prolonged knee injury.

And although Bent played over 80 minutes in Charlton's win against Newcastle on Sunday the striker has never fully recovered from the injury which has plagued the 23-year-old for the last couple of months.

The call up makes Nugent the only outfield player in McClaren's squad not to come from a top-flight league.

Charlton boss Alan Pardew did however give the thumbs up for Bent to report for training on Tuesday but McClaren has opted to make the change now, allowing Nugent to step up from Nigel Pearson's under-21 squad and play a full part in preparations for Saturday's crucial clash with Israel in Tel Aviv.

Despite being unproven at this level of the game, Nugent has impressed at his club notching up 16 goals in all competitions and has been a major factor behind his club's surge into a Championship play-off spot.

If he plays any part against either Israel or Group E makeweights Andorra, Nugent will be the first Preston player to appear for England since the legendary Sir Tom Finney and Lilywhites boss Paul Simpson is confident the 21-year-old can handle the pressure.

"It will be an exciting experience for him and a massive boost to be involved in the full squad," said Simpson. "David seems to be enjoying all the attention and I hope it carries on that way. "It is always difficult. You never know how people will react to these things but so far, he has been very good."

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