By G9ija

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has returned to the England squad for their upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers with Malta and North Macedonia, while Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Lewis Dunk are also called up.

The Three Lions – who sit top of Group C thanks to victories over Italy and Ukraine in March – will face Malta in Ta’ Qali on June 16 before hosting North Macedonia at Old Trafford three days later.

Despite the quick turnaround time following the end of the Premier League season, England boss Gareth Southgate has named a strong 25-man squad, where Alexander-Arnold makes a swift return.

The 24-year-old was not called up for March’s qualifiers but has shone in a hybrid midfield role for Liverpool over the past few weeks, scoring one goal and providing six assists in his last nine Premier League appearances.

With Chelsea’s Reece James missing out due to injury, the door has been opened for Alexander-Arnold to earn a recall, but there is no space in the squad for Arsenal right-back Ben White.

The 25-year-old left the World Cup camp in December due to personal reasons, although it was alleged that he had a falling-out with assistant coach Steve Holland in Qatar.

Southgate had apparently contacted White to gauge his interest in a recall, but the Arsenal man has been left out this time around, as Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker complete Southgate’s right-back options.

Elsewhere in defence, Brighton centre-back Dunk has been called up to the squad for just the third time, having only earned one cap for the Three Lions in a 2018 friendly against the USA.

Meanwhile, Palace midfielder Eze represents the only uncapped player to be included in the 25-man squad in the wake of his impressive exploits under Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

Eze – who earned eight caps for England’s Under-21s – has scored six goals in his last nine Premier League outings for the Eagles, and he joins the likes of Declan Rice, Jordan Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Conor Gallagher and Jude Bellingham – despite an injury concern for the latter – in the midfield ranks.

Elsewhere, there is no place in the squad for Chelsea attacker Raheem Sterling, who has struggled during his first season at Stamford Bridge, and he will use the summer months to regain optimum physical fitness.

Newcastle United number one Nick Pope is also absent after undergoing surgery on a hand injury, as Crystal Palace’s Sam Johnstone joins Jordan Pickford and Aaron Ramsdale in the goalkeeping ranks.

Manchester United’s Harry Maguire retains his spot despite being relegated to the bench at club level, but Tottenham Hotspur’s Eric Dier has been cut, and there is still no way in for AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori.

With Brentford striker Ivan Toney now serving an eight-month ban for breaching the FA’s betting rules, Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has beaten Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins to a recall.

While most players will report to St George’s Park on June 12, those involved in European finals – Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Phillips, Walker, John Stones and Rice – will join up at a later date and are uncertain for the trip to Malta on June 16.

Goalkeepers: Sam Johnstone (Crystal Palace), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Lewis Dunk (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United)

Forwards: Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), James Maddison (Leicester City), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Callum Wilson (Newcastle United)