John Stones, Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw have received England recalls ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has named a 26-man squad for this month’s World Cup qualification triple header against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford had been widely tipped for a call-up, but Southgate has turned to Watkins, who has impressed since joining Villa from Brentford in the summer.
Johnstone, who has shone for the embattled Baggies this season, gets his maiden call-up following an injury to England number one Jordan Pickford.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is conspicuous by his absence from a squad that sees Luke Shaw, John Stones and Jesse Lingard return after long absences.
Seventeen-year-old Bellingham’s inclusion is interesting given the Football Association had expected regional coronavirus travel restrictions in Germany to rule him out.
Dortmund team-mate Jadon Sancho misses out through injury, while Jack Grealish, James Maddison and Tammy Abraham are not included having been dealing with issues of their own.
Southgate said there had been some “close calls” when selecting his squad, including the decision to include Watkins over Bamford.
“(Bamford was) very close,” Southgate said at a press conference. “There’re a number of positions in this squad that have been really close calls and we felt we wanted an extra striker.
“We’re really pleased with Harry (Kane) and (Dominic) Calvert-Lewin and what they’ve done. Tammy Abraham hasn’t really been involved for Chelsea over the last four to six weeks.
“And both Ollie and Patrick in particular, their goals record has been good. We like the personalities of both. Ollie is a player we’ve had less interaction with in the past. It’s going to be good to get to know him.
“We like his pressing, the speed and the runs in behind. He’s got some improvement to make in linking the game, but in his first season in the Premier League at a big club, he’s done exceptionally well.
“That’s been a really close call because all the things I’ve said about Ollie I could have said for Patrick as well, so he’s very unfortunate.”
Full 26-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Sam Johnstone and Nick Pope
Defenders: Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Tyrone Mings, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Jesse Lingard, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice and James Ward-Prowse
Strikers: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling and Ollie Watkins