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Jamie Carragher quit international football three years ago to focus on his Liverpool career, after being snubbed by manager Fabio Capello's predecessor, Steve McClaren. ((Jed Leicester/Getty Images) )

England coach Fabio Capello has persuaded defender Jamie Carragher to come out of international retirement for the World Cup, while centre-back Ledley King has been selected in the provisional squad despite chronic knee problems.

The 32-year-old Carragher quit international football three years ago after being snubbed by Capello's predecessor, Steve McClaren, to focus on his Liverpool career.

"The FA got in touch a few weeks ago and asked if I would have a rethink, due to injury problems. I said I would make myself available," said Carragher, who has played 34 internationals.

"The World Cup and Champions League are the highest levels of football. I'm not getting any younger, we have no Champions League football next season and I am keen to work under Fabio Capello."

King, 29, who also last played for England in 2007, was included in the 30-man provisional squad despite being unable to train between matches due to knee problems. However, the Tottenham player played four matches in 15 days near the end of the season.

"We have been monitoring him for a long time — he is one of the best England defenders," Capello said. "In the last 15 days, he has played four games and we spoke with him about his knee problems ... he is a really important defender."

Calgary-born midfielder Owen Hargreaves was left off the roster, despite speculation that he may have been in Capello's plans. Hargreaves, who is eligible to play for England through his father, has been battling a series of injuries and has barely played in the last 18 months.

King and Carragher will act as central defensive cover for John Terry and captain Rio Ferdinand, who also struggles with back problems.

Since defenders Wes Brown and Joleon Lescott were ruled out of the World Cup due to injury, Capello has diverted from his policy of only selecting players with no fitness concerns.

The final 23-man squad will be announced on June 1 after a training camp in Austria and friendlies against Mexico and Japan.

Scholes wants time with family

Unlike with Carragher, Capello failed to persuade 35-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes to return — six years after announcing his international retirement.

"We tried to convince him to come back to England," Capello said. "But he said he would prefer to spend time with his family."

In midfield, Manchester City's Gareth Barry is included despite being ruled out until June with ankle ligament damage, while Chelsea's Joe Cole is included despite injuries and a lack of form keeping him out of the England setup for almost two years.

West Ham midfielder Scott Parker also has a chance to convince Capello to take him to South Africa, where England's campaign opens June 12 against United States.

Manchester City winger Adam Johnson and Spurs centre-back Michael Dawson are the two uncapped players in the squad.

Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock and Everton's Leighton Baines are the backup options for left-back Ashley Cole.

Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge quit the squad in February after allegations that Terry had an affair with the mother of his child. Capello stripped Terry of the England captaincy over the incident.

Up front, Capello's favoured starting strikers, Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey, have been joined by Tottenham pair Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, as well as Sunderland's Darren Bent.

Paul Robinson, England's first-choice goalkeeper at the 2006 World Cup, has been left out. David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart are the 'keepers that made the cut.

Provisional squad

Goalkeepers:

  • David James (Portsmouth)
  • Robert Green (West Ham)
  • Joe Hart (Manchester City)

Defenders:

  • Glen Johnson (Liverpool)
  • Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United)
  • John Terry (Chelsea)
  • Leighton Baines (Everton)
  • Matthew Upson (West Ham)
  • Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
  • Ledley King (Tottenham)
  • Ashley Cole (Chelsea)
  • Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
  • Michael Dawson (Tottenham)

Midfielders:

  • Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
  • Frank Lampard (Chelsea)
  • Michael Carrick (Manchester United)
  • Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City)
  • James Milner (Aston Villa)
  • Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
  • Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham)
  • Aaron Lennon (Tottenham)
  • Adam Johnson (Manchester City)
  • Joe Cole (Chelsea)
  • Scott Parker (West Ham)
  • Gareth Barry (Manchester City)

Strikers:

  • Peter Crouch (Tottenham)
  • Emile Heskey (Aston Villa)
  • Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
  • Jermain Defoe (Tottenham)
  • Darren Bent (Sunderland)