Roy Hodgson has named the uncapped duo of Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli and Liverpool's Danny Ings in his England squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying double-header against Estonia and Lithuania. There is no place for Ings's Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge, though, despite the striker recently returning to Premier League action following a six-month lay-off caused by a hip injury.
While Alli's inclusion may seem premature to some given that the bulk of his experience in professional football to date has come in League One, the 19-year-old has not looked out of place during a series of impressive top-flight performances since returning to White Hart Lane following a loan spell with former club MK Dons.
Ings, meanwhile, has scored twice in all competitions since joining Liverpool from Burnley in the summer, striking in the 1-1 draw with Norwich at Anfield last month as well as in the nervy Capital One Cup third round victory over Carlisle. Both men have experience at U21 level, although Alli was not included in Gareth Southgate's squad for the U21 European Championships in the Czech Republic in June.
"Danny Ings is someone we followed with the U21s last year and this was a good opportunity to bring him in after scoring goals for Liverpool," Hodgson said at a press conference held at Wembley. "We've been impressed with Dele Alli and this is a chance to get to know him. He's a very exciting talent."
On the omission of Sturridge, who scored his first goals of the season with an eye-catching brace in the 3-2 win over Aston Villa last weekend, he added: "We think it's better for Daniel Sturridge to concentrate on what is a pre-season at Liverpool. We hope to see a player in good form next month."
Elsewhere in the squad, Jamie Vardy retains his place after continuing a blistering run of form for Leicester that has seen the former Fleetwood Town striker score six goals in just seven games so far this term.
Jonjo Shelvey is also back after winning his first caps since 2012 against San Marino and Switzerland in the last round of international fixtures, while Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs is once again selected ahead of Tottenham counterpart Danny Rose and John Stones features despite being rested for Everton's recent trip to West Brom after picking up a knee injury in a win over Reading.
Manchester United defender Phil Jones returns after suffering from a blood clot and Michael Carrick also gets the nod despite missing his club's Champions League victory over Wolfsburg on 30 September with a minor issue.
Hodgson is without the services of Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and influential Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson due to injury, and while the manager acknowledges the importance of those absences, he is still eager to ensure that England preserve their 100% record in qualifying before tricky November friendlies against Spain and Euro 2016 hosts France.
"Where we have been hit harder is in midfield, with a number of players missing in that area," he added. "Adam Lallana's return is good news. The game in Lithuania is where we will possibly experiment a little more. But we want to win both games and finish with a perfect record."
England welcome Estonia to Wembley on Friday 9 October before travelling to Vilnius for their final qualifier three days later. The Three Lions beat both sides in corresponding fixtures by 1-0 and 4-0 scorelines respectively.
England squad to face Estonia and Lithuania
Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Joe Hart, Tom Heaton
Defenders : Ryan Bertrand, Gary Cahill, Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Gibbs, Phil Jagielka, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, John Stones
Midfielders : Dele Alli, Ross Barkley, Michael Carrick, Adam Lallana, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling
Forwards : Danny Ings, Harry Kane, Wayne Rooney, Jamie Vardy, Theo Walcott