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Gerrard and Johnson Out of England Friendly

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When England take on Italy in Bern on Wednesday, it will be without captain Steven Gerrard and fullback Glen Johnson after Roy Hodgson revealed a younger and more experimental side than the one he took to the Euros. In fact, with Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson—two players included by Hodgson in the Euro 2012 squad earlier in the summer—also left out, it means that only Andy Carroll of the club's English contingent will be travelling from Liverpool to Switzerland this week.

Carroll will be joined by a number of less regular names, including Team GB starting goalkeeper Jack Butland, who will pick up his first senior England cap if he plays. To make room, along with the Liverpool quartet Hodgson has left Joleon Lescott, Ashley Cole, Scott Parker, Danny Welbeck, and Wayne Rooney at home.

For most Liverpool fans, even those who consider international duty important, it will be exceptionally good news to see only Carroll forced to take part in an entirely meaningless friendly match three days after the end of the pre-season and three before the kickoff of the club's Premier League campaign. Unfortunately, however, it's not all good news when it comes to Wednesday's internationals, as 17-year-old starlet Ryan McLaughlin has had to pull out of the Northern Ireland squad due to a minor injury, spoiling his chance to debut for the senior national side.