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England announce Euro squad

May 17, 2004 19:42 IST

 England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has named defenders Ledley King and Jamie Carragher in his 23-man squad for next month's European championship in Portugal.

King and Carragher were handed their chances on Monday after Eriksson's back-up options for central defenders Sol Campbell and John Terry were limited by suspension and injuries.

"I am happy with the overall balance of the squad," Eriksson told a news conference. "I hope they all stay fit. If they do we will have a very very good team."

Defensive utility player Phil Neville was also included in a squad that contained no major surprises, with captain David Beckham and Steven Gerrard heading a list of eight midfielders alongside Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Owen Hargreaves, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole and Kieron Dyer.

Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, the youngest member of the squad, spearhead Eriksson's attack, with Emile Heskey and Darius Vassell as alternative options.

"Wayne Rooney is an excellent footballer," Eriksson said. "I know he is young but when he is on the pitch he doesn't seem very young."

England, who fell at the first hurdle at Euro 2000 but reached the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, open their campaign in Euro 2004 Group B against holders France before facing Switzerland and Croatia.

"It is still a young squad," Eriksson said. "Those who were in Japan two years ago are more experienced and they should be better."

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