Jermain Defoe was recalled to the England squad at the age of 34 on Thursday, more than three years after last playing for the national team.
The Sunderland striker is among 26 players selected for England’s upcoming matches after captain Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane were ruled out because of injury.
Defoe has scored 19 goals in 55 England appearances but last played in 2013. Although Sunderland is last in the Premier League, Defoe has 14 goals from 27 appearances.
“Year after year he’s phenomenal, but this year in particular, in a team that aren’t creating as many chances as other teams, his strike rate is outstanding,” England coach Gareth Southgate said ahead of games against Germany and Lithuania. “I didn’t want to just look at his age and think he’s finished with England.
Thanks to everyone for your messages! Playing for @England has been my dream since day one so to be back in the squad is so special for me.
— Jermain Defoe (@IAmJermainDefoe) 16 March 2017
“He’s somebody that is immensely proud to have represented England at every age group. I think you get young players with a point to prove and older players with a point to prove.”
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has also been called up by Southgate, whose side plays a friendly in Germany on Wednesday before hosting Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier on March 26.
Southgate also turned to West Bromwich Albion midfielder Jake Livermore, whose only England appearance came in 2012.
Luke Shaw, who has played only twice for Manchester United since November, is in the squad because Tottenham defender Danny Rose is injured.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino), Tom Heaton (Burnley)
Defenders: Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Michael Keane (Burnley), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Dele Alli (Tottenham), Michail Antonio (West Ham), Ross Barkley (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
Strikers: Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jamie Vardy (Leicester)