(CNN) -- Tottenham defender Ledley King has been handed a surprising recall to the England squad for next Saturday's friendly with Slovakia and the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on April 1.
Ledlley King earns a welcome return to the England fold after his injury problems.
King is rated one of the best central defenders in the Premier League and can also play in midfield, but his career has been blighted by a persistent knee injury.
It leaves him unable to train properly, but he has played Tottenham's last three games and showed impressive form in the 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday.
Teammate Aaron Lennon, who has also excelled in recent weeks, is also recalled having won the last of his nine caps against Andorra two years ago.
Coach Fabio Capello also sprung another surprise on Sunday by naming Everton defender Leighton Baines in place of the injured Wayne Bridge as cover at full back.
Manchester United's second-string goalkeeper Ben Foster is also included by Capello for the first time, having impressed in the penalty shootout as United beat Tottenham in the League Cup final.
England lead their World Cup qualifying group and will be looking to maintain the advantage with victory over Ukraine next week.
Italy coach Marcello Lippi has given first international call ups to three players for World Cup qualifiers away to Montenegro and at home to the Republic of Ireland.
AS Roma full-back Marco Motta, Genoa central defender Salvatore Bocchetti and Sampdoria striker Giampaolo Pazzini are all rewarded for fine form in Serie A this season.
But Lippi has again ignored Juventus striker Alessandro Del Piero for two key matches as they bid to cement top place in Group eight.