A TOTAL of six former Blackburn Rovers and Burnley players remain in with a shout of going to the World Cup after all 32 countries confirmed their provisional squads.
There was a shock call into Argentina’s initial 30-man squad for ex-Rovers striker Franco Di Santo, who was selected at the expense of Carlos Tevez.
Tevez has scored 19 league goals for Juventus this season as the Italian giants clinched the Serie A title, but Di Santo got the nod after netting four times in 23 appearances for German side Werder Bremen.
Di Santo had a season-long loan at Ewood Park from Chelsea during the 2009/10 campaign, scoring one goal in 25 games – in a derby victory at home to Burnley.
He later joined Wigan Athletic on a permanent basis before moving to Germany last summer.
The 25-year-old, who has three caps for Argentina, will now compete for a place in the final squad with fellow strikers Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Rodrigo Palacio. Countries must name their final 23-man squads by June 2.
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Greece yesterday named former Burnley striker Dimitrios Papadopoulos in their provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup.
Papadopoulos played for the Clarets between 2001 and 2003 before joining Panathinaikos.
He was selected for the Greece squad that won Euro 2004 but has never featured at a World Cup.
Papadopoulos later moved on to Lecce, Dinamo Zagreb, Celta Vigo, Levadiakos and Panthrakikos.
The 32-year-old, who was born in Uzbekistan, now plays for Greek top flight side Atromitos and has 23 caps for his country.
The Netherlands have included former Blackburn Rovers loanee Karim Rekik in their initial 30-man squad.
Rekik had an unsuccessful loan spell at Ewood Park from Manchester City at the latter end of last season, making only five appearances, but the left-sided defender has since had a season-long loan at PSV Eindhoven.
Former Rovers loan midfielder Jermaine Jones, who left Schalke for Besiktas in January, is in the United States’ provisional 30-man squad.
England boss Roy Hodgson, a former Rovers manager, named ex-Rover Phil Jones in his final 23-man squad on Monday together with former Burnley loanee Gary Cahill. Jones is still recovering from a shoulder injury and John Stones is on standby to replace him if necessary.
But there are no current Rovers or Burnley players going to the World Cup – in contrast to four years ago. Then four Rovers players – New Zealand’s Ryan Nelsen, Denmark’s Lars Jacobsen and Australian duo Brett Emerton and Vince Grella – were all selected.