Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Michail Antonio called up for Sam Allardyce’s first England squad

West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) and Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

West Ham United's Michail Antonio (left) and Manchester City's Nicolas Otamendi battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium

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Former Sheffield Wednesday winger Michail Antonio is the surprise inclusion in Sam Allardyce’s first England squad.

The West Ham star who spent two-and-a-half years at Hillsborough before moving to Nottingham Forest in 2014, is the only uncapped player in the squad to face Slovakia in a World Cup qualifier on September 4.

The squad is largely made up of that which turned in a disappointing performance during the European Championships in the summer, though there is no place this time for Everton’s Ross Barkley.

Dronfield’s Gary Cahill retains his place, as do South Yorkshire-born Jamie Vardy, Danny Rose, Kyle Walker and John Stones.

Former Sheffield United skipper Phil Jagielka is also recalled after being left out of the tournament in France.

Of Antonio’s call up, Allardyce told FATV: “I think he’s in outstanding form. This is another lad with a great journey - it’s a fantastic journey that he’s been on, from non-league to now an international call-up.’

“Last year his impact on West Ham was only overshadowed by (Dimitri) Payet.

‘He scored nine goals in his first season and he’s a terrific athlete, a good crosser and a goal-scorer. I’m looking forward to him coming, and looking forward to meeting everybody.

‘Hopefully we will have a good few days’ preparation and get to know each other on the basis of trying to go and win in Slovakia.”

Antonio, who only found out he had been called up after coming off the field at the Etihad Stadium, revealed he had rejected Jamaica earlier this year in a bid to keep his England ambitions alive.

“I’m overwhelmed. I got slightly emotional when I found out,” he told West Ham TV.

“It’s just one of those things that I’ve always dreamt of, playing for England, as a kid, so now for it to happen after I’ve worked my way from non-league to where I am now, I am just so happy.

“I turned down an approach from Jamaica in March and for this to happen so quickly, I’m buzzing, I just want to keep my feet on the floor.”

That should not be too hard for a man who eight years ago was making his way with Tooting and Mitcham.

“All I can do is go out there on the international stage and show there is a reason why the gaffer has called me up,” he added.

‘I didn’t think that it would happen this quick, but I always said to myself that if I could get into the Premier League and keep playing the way I do, hopefully I could get into the England squad.”

England squad to face Slovakia: Forster (Southampton), Hart (Man City), Heaton (Burnley); Cahill (Chelsea), Clyne (Liverpool), Jagielka (Everton), Rose (Tottenham), Shaw (Man Utd), Smalling (Man Utd), Stones (Man City), Walker (Tottenham); Alli (Tottenham), Antonio (West Ham), Dier (Tottenham), Drinkwater (Leicester), Henderson (Liverpool), Lallana (Liverpool), Rooney (Man Utd), Sterling (Man City), Walcott (Arsena); Kane (Tottenham), Sturridge (Liverpool), Vardy (Leicester).

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