Wayne Rooney has been included in the England squad for their vital FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Poland and Montenegro.
The Manchester United striker sat out his club's 1-1 UEFA Champions League draw at Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday with a swollen shin, and missed England's last two fixtures against Moldova and Ukraine in September with a head injury.
Rooney's return is a welcome boost for manager Roy Hodgson, whose side lead Group H by one point from Montenegro and Ukraine and know that only a maximum haul from their last two fixtures will guarantee their participation at Brazil 2014.
The 27-year-old has started the season in impressive form for David Moyes' side, notching three goals in five Premier League appearances thus far.
Having been struck by an injury crisis to his forward line in the Moldova and Ukraine fixtures, Hodgson has also been given a further lift with both Daniel Sturridge and Danny Welbeck returning.
Liverpool striker Sturridge missed the last two qualifiers with a thigh injury, but a return of seven goals in eight appearances across all competitions for his club this season should put the former Chelsea man in line for a starting spot this time around.
Welbeck scored twice in England's 4-0 demolition of Moldova, but a yellow card picked up in that match meant he was suspended for the 0-0 draw in Ukraine.
Southampton forward Rickie Lambert retains his place in the squad despite Sturridge and Welbeck both being available, with Tottenham's Jermain Defoe completing England's attacking options.
Everton midfielder Ross Barkley and Tottenham's Andros Townsend keep their places in the 23-man squad, but Manchester United winger Ashley Young has been omitted, as has Liverpool's Raheem Sterling, both of whom made Hodgson's previous squad.
Joe Hart is expected to start in goal, despite coming under criticism after Manchester City's 3-1 UEFA Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
Squad in full:
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich City).
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), Kyle Walker (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Ross Barkley (Everton), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), Andros Townsend (Tottenham), Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Rickie Lambert (Southampton), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool), Daniel Welbeck (Manchester United).
|Coach: R. Hodgson|
for F. Lampard 65'
for A. Townsend 80'
for S. Gerrard 87'
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