Hodgson excited by new England call-ups

Roy Hodgson is looking forward to learning more about his trio of new England recruits after selecting Charlie Austin, Jamie Vardy and Tom Heaton in his squad for next month's matches against the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia.

The England manager named the three uncapped players in his 24-man squad on Thursday, with the likes of Harry Kane, Jack Butland, Saido Berahino and Danny Ings expected to feature at the European Under-21 Championship.

And he spoke with particular relish about the two strikers - Austin and Vardy - with the QPR man having scored 17 Premier League goals this season, while the Leicester City forward has risen from the anonymity of non-League football to international recognition in just three years.

"We have always had our eye on Austin, but up to this point we have had the full quota of forward players," Hodgson said.

"But we now have space there because of the injury to [Daniel] Sturridge and we don't have Kane, Ings or Berahino on this occasion.

"He will get an opportunity to show us what he can do in training and in matches, though I can't promise him a game.

"I am pleased to welcome him into the fold. I have heard good things about him and know he is a good player."

On Vardy, who has scored only four times this season but, unlike Austin and Burnley goalkeeper Heaton, did manage to avoid relegation, Hodgson added: "I had watched him at Fleetwood and know he had the pace and desire to run in behind players, which is always an interesting quality for coaches and have seen his performances in the latter part of the season with Leicester.

"He is another player, alongside Austin, that will be nice to get to know him better."

Raheem Sterling is also included for the upcoming double-header - a friendly in Dublin on June 7 before a European Championship qualifier in Ljubljana a week later - as speculation continues to mount over his Liverpool future.

Asked if he had counseled Sterling over his future options, Hodgson explained: "I'm always available for players. Raheem has been with us a long while and if he wanted to talk to me, that's fine.

"As far as I am concerned a contract situation is between the player and the club and it is club business and I won't be poking my nose into club business. I'd expect him to do the job he has always done for us."

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