SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile have surprisingly included Blackburn Rovers forward Ben Brereton in their squad for next month’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Argentina and Bolivia.
Coach Martin Lasarte named a 30-strong squad, which will have to be whittled down ahead of the Copa America, and the uncapped Brereton’s name was a particular standout.
An England youth international up to under-20 level, 22-year-old Brereton was born in Stoke and is eligible to represent La Roja due to his Chilean-born mother.
He netted seven goals in 40 appearances in England’s second tier this season and joins fellow uncapped duo Juan Leiva and Gabriel Castellon as part of the squad.
Elsewhere, captain and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo plus stalwarts Gary Medel, Jean Beausejour and Arturo Vidal were all included alongside forward Alexis Sanchez.
Chile currently sit sixth in the South American qualifying group after four games on four points.
The top four qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, while the fifth-placed side advance to an inter-confederation playoff where they will be pitted against a team from one of the Asia, North, Central American and Caribbean or Oceania Federations.
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Betis), Gabriel Arias (Racing), Gabriel Castellon (Huachipato)
Defenders: Gary Medel (Bologna), Mauricio Isla (Flamengo), Jean Beausejour (Coquimbo Unido), Eugenio Mena (Racing), Guillermo Maripan (Monaco), Sebastian Vegas (Monterrey), Enzo Roco (Fatih Karagumruk), Francisco Sierralta (Watford), Yonathan Andia (Universidad de Chile)
Midfielders: Arturo Vidal (Inter Milan), Charles Aranguiz (Bayer Leverkusen), Luis Jimenez (Palestino), Erick Pulgar (Fiorentina), Cesar Pinares (Gremio), Claudio Baeza (Toluca), Bryan Carrasco (Palestino), Pablo Galdames (Velez Sarsfield), Tomas Alarcon (O’Higgins), Juan Leiva (Universidad Catolica)
Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Inter Milan), Eduardo Vargas (Atletico Mineiro), Fabian Orellano (Valladolid), Felipe Mora (Portland Timbers), Jean Menses (Leon), Carlos Palacios (Internacional), Clemente Montes (Universidad Catolica), Ben Brereton (Blackburn Rovers)
(Reporting by Joseph Walker; Editing by Ken Ferris)