Boss Lee Carsley revealed he always wanted to include Angel Gomes in his new-look England Under-21s.
Former Manchester United forward Gomes has earned his first Under-21s call up for Euro 2023 qualifiers in Slovenia and Andorra this month.
Gomes moved to Lille from Old Trafford in 2020 and spent last season on loan at Boavista, scoring six goals in 30 games.
He won the Under-17 World Cup with England four years ago and Carsley has kept a close eye on the 21-year-old.
“He is a player I contacted the day after I got the job to make sure he knew I was watching him,” he said.
“He is a player I really like and I made that clear to him. It was a great conversation I had with him to congratulate him he had been called up.
“It’s a brilliant message to the whole pathway that there is a way through, not everyone has the same pathway and Angel has proved that.
“A lot of things excite me about Angel, the way he receives the ball, the way he runs with the ball, he has exception balance and he is very strong for someone of his size.
“He has a lot of character off the pitch, in terms of going to a different country, going on loan at Boavista, going back to Lille and playing in the Champions League.”
Gomes comes in for the injured Harvey Elliott after he dislocated his ankle in Liverpool’s win at Leeds last month.
Callum Hudson-Odoi has again been omitted after he decided to stay at Chelsea to force his way into Thomas Tuchel’s team during the last international break.
The forward can also represent Ghana and has been rumoured to be considering switching his allegiances but Carsley believes Hudson-Odoi still remains focused on England.
He said: “Callum will remain at Chelsea and try to get in the Chelsea team. We have spoken to him to see how he’s feeling, so has Gareth (Southgate) so there’s no real change there.
“No intentions or suggestions were made with that regard (Ghana). As far as we are concerned Callum is still committed to England and we are looking forward to having him back at some point.”
Tottenham’s Oliver Skipp, Crystal Palace’s Chelsea loanee Conor Gallagher and Liverpool’s Curtis Jones are all included again.
The Young Lions beat Kosovo 2-0 in Carsley’s first game in charge last month to open their Euro 2023 qualifying campaign.
It came after they were forced to cancel a friendly in Romania after two positive coronavirus cases among the squad and coaching staff.
They face Slovenia in Group G in Celje on October 7 before going to Andorra on October 11.
England Under-21 squad: Bursik (Stoke), Green (St Etienne), Griffiths (West Brom, on loan at Lincoln), Aarons (Norwich), Cresswell (Leeds), Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harwood-Bellis (Manchester City, on loan at Anderlecht) Colwill (Chelsea, on loan at Huddersfield), Livramento (Southampton), Thomas (Leicester), Doyle (Manchester City, on loan at Hamburg), Gallagher (Chelsea, on loan at Crystal Palace), Garner (Manchester United, on loan at Nottingham Forest), Jones (Liverpool), Palmer (Manchester City), Ramsey (Aston Villa), Skipp (Tottenham), Balogun (Arsenal), Brewster (Sheffield United), John-Jules (Arsenal, on loan at Blackpool), Madueke (PSV), Smith Rowe (Arsenal), Gomes (Lille)
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