Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling called up to England U21 squad

Raheem Sterling playing for England Under-19s

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling has received his first call-up to the England Under-21s.

He was a late inclusion in the England senior squad in September for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley, but did not feature.

The Under-21s face Serbia in a Euro 2013 play-off in Norwich next week.

The 17-year-old has made eight appearances for Brendan Rodgers' side this term and has represented his country at U16s, U17s and U19s level.

As Sterling had been an unused substitute for the senior side in September, there had been suggestionsexternal-link that the teenager would again be picked by Hodgson in his squad announcement on Thursday for the forthcoming qualifier against San Marino on 12 October.

But Under-21s coach Stuart Pearce insisted that Sterling forms part of his plans: "He's been in our development squads and has done extremely well for Liverpool.

"For Raheem to have an insight into the senior team is fantastic. We are pleased to have him."

Other newcomers in Pearce's 26-man squad are Tottenham's Andros Townsend, 21, and 18-year-old Nick Powell of Manchester United.

Full squad for games versus Serbia on 12 and 16 October:

Goalkeepers: Ben Amos (Hull City - loan from Manchester United), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Ryan Bennett (Norwich City), Steven Caulker (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion), Tom Lees (Leeds United), Jack Rodwell (Manchester City), Danny Rose (Sunderland - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Adam Smith (Tottenham Hotspur), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool)

Midfielders: Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough - loan from Chelsea), Nick Powell (Manchester United), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace)

Attackers: Nathan Delfouneso (Blackpool - loan from Aston Villa), Marvin Sordell (Bolton Wanderers), Andros Townsend (Tottenham Hotspur), Connor Wickham (Sunderland)