England have called up winger Andros Townsend for this month’s World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia after Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was forced to withdraw through injury, the Football Association (FA) said on Monday.

Townsend, who has scored three goals in his 11 appearances for England, returns to international duty for the first time since May, having last featured in the pre-Euro 2016 friendly against Australia.

“Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend has been called up to the England squad following the withdrawal of Raheem Sterling through injury.” the FA said on its website (www.thefa.com).

England host Malta at Wembley Stadium on Saturday before travelling to take on Slovenia three days later.

England enjoyed a last-gasp 1-0 victory away to Slovakia in their opening Group F game last month. The group also includes Scotland and Lithuania.

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