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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

International Blues

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Everton might not be in action this week, but no less than 17 members of the first-team squad are heading out on international duty.

Closest to home will be the Blues' own Three Lions, as Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley are all in the squad for England's crucial World Cup qualifying double-header against Montenegro and Poland at Wembley.

While Jagielka has been a near ever-present under Roy Hodgson, Baines has had to contend with Ashley Cole for the left-back slot. With the Chelsea man currently struggling with a rib injury, Baines may get the nod.

Another Everton trio head out to Cologne to face Germany on Friday evening.

Seamus Coleman and James McCarthy are joined in the Republic of Ireland squad by Darron Gibson - the midfielder's first inclusion since Euro 2012.

A return to Dublin follows for Tuesday's clash with Kazahkstan.

There could be a couple of encounters between teammates in Group A, as Belgium firstly head to Zagreb.

There, Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku could lock horns with Nikica Jelavic, before Igor Stimac's side fly out to Glasgow - where Steven Naismith and Scotland await on Tuesday.

In trans-Atlantic action, Bryan Oviedo and already-qualified Costa Rica prepare for a trip to Honduras before taking on Mexico at home in San Jose.

The United States are also assured of heading to Brazil and Tim Howard and company will contend with Jamaica in Kansas City before heading to Panama.

Meanwhile, at Under-21 level, there's plenty of European Championship qualifiers taking place.

John Stones is in the England squad for games against San Marino and Lithuania, while Gerard Deulofeu is named in the Spain Under-21 side for two fixtures in Murcia against Bosnia and Herzegovinia and then Uruguay.

Apostolos Vellios is in the Greece Under-21 group for trips to Turkey and Malta, while Shane Duffy is likely to skipper the Republic of Ireland in home and away games against Romania.

Matthew Kennedy received a late call-up for Scotland Under-21s last week and is in line to play against Slovakia in Paisley before a tricky tie in Georgia.

And finally, George Green is in the England Under-18 squad for two games against Hungary.
 
Keep an eye on evertonfc.com for updates on the international action.

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