Southgate: Rooney dropped for lack of playing time

Injuries to the likes of Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and Wayne Rooney have seen Southgate pluck the Manchester United striker away from Aidy Boothroyd's Under-21 squad, with the 19-year-old likely to add to his tally of six worldwide caps.

Defoe's return comes as both Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane miss out through injury while Livermore's only previous senior worldwide cap was in a 2-1 victory against Italy in August 2012.

Defoe is the top English scorer in the Premier League after Kane, who has 19 goals to his credit.

Wednesday's tough-looking friendly at world champions Germany kicks off his reign before Lithuania arrive at Wembley on Sunday, March 26 for a World Cup qualifier.

"I think Theo has a really valid claim for being included", Southgate admitted.

"I have always looked forward to playing for England".

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Southgate did leave the door open for Walcott to find his way back into his plans and conceded he did not expect the player to be pleased about dropping out of the squad.

Routinely selected by England for the past 14 years, Rooney has lost his place at Manchester United and Southgate hinted it is time to start planning for life without him.

Gareth Southgate will name his first England squad as permanent manager at 2pm this afternoon, with one notable exclusion already known.

"His goalscoring record, generally, year after year is phenomenal, but in particular this season in a team that perhaps aren't creating as many chances as other teams".

"The decision to call him up is positional", Southgate explained. "We think there's one or two others that can come on that route".

He will now hope to add to his cap haul, something which could prove extra special as terminally ill five-year-old Bradley Lowery, with whom he has struck up a friendship, is due to be mascot for the Lithuania game. I think you can have the young players who are hungry and you can have older players who are hungry as well.

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