England name provisional squad
Manager Fabio Capello also recalled Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher three years after he retired from internationals.
Also included were midfielders Scott Parker, Joe Cole and Gareth Barry, who had been a doubt after an ankle injury had ruled him out of action for the next three weeks.
There is a strong Spurs presence with Dawson joined by fellow defender Ledley King, midfielders Tom Huddlestone and Aaron Lennon plus strikers Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.
Darren Bent, who was third-top scorer in the Premier League last season with 24, is also among the forwards bidding to accompany first choice Wayne Rooney, who netted 26 league goals, but there is no place for Carlton Cole or Bobby Zamora.
Capello, who will cut the squad for South Africa to 23 at the end of the month, will take his 30 players to a high-altitude training camp in Austria and has friendlies against Mexico and Japan to help him make his final decision.
Johnson, 22, who moved to City from Middlesbrough during the January transfer window, has impressed Capello with his confidence, maturity and ability to beat a man.
He faces a tough battle to make the final 23, however, with Lennon, Theo Walcott, Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips all in contention for places on the flanks.
The experienced Carragher, 32, seems certain to be on the plane having been persuaded by Capello to return to the fold.
He retired from international football in frustration at not being selected in his preferred centre back position and then being often overlooked at right back.
He then published an autobiography where he said he cared more about losing for Liverpool than for England and that he did not feel the same passion for the international side.
With Carragher likely to join John Terry and Rio Ferdinand in the final 23, Dawson and King will fight it out with West Ham United's Matthew Upson to accompany them.
King made a late charge into the squad when he strung four games together for Tottenham having previously been seen as not being an option due his knee problems making it difficult for him to train or play two games in a week.
Leighton Baines or Stephen Warnock will travel as cover for Ashley Cole, with Glen Johnson the likely starting right back.
Joe Hart, Robert Green and probable first choice David James fill the three goalkeeping berths.
Capello will hold a news conference at Wembley later on Tuesday to discuss his selections ahead of the finals, which will be held from June 11 to July 11.
England's first game is against the United States on June 12, with Algeria and Slovenia making up a winnable Gro