Date: 1st February 2013 at 3:23pm
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Watford have been hit heavily by international call-ups with nine first-team players called-up by their countries for friendly matches before Friday’s clash with Crystal Palace.

The headline news is Joel Ekstrand’s return to the Sweden fold – two years after winning his first cap against Syria in 2010.

Ekstrand joins up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and co. for Sweden’s friendly against Argentina in Stockholm next Wednesday, as we told you earlier in the week.

Czech Republic duo Matej Vydra and Daniel Pudil have both been called up by coach Michal Bilek to face Turkey in a friendly.

Vydra will be aiming to win his fifth senior cap, whilst Pudil will look to add to the 23 he has already won.

Centre-half Nyron Nosworthy has once again been called-up by Jamaica and will look to steer the Reggae Boyz to victory over Mexico in their first CONCACAF World Cup 2014 qualifier.

At youth level, Nathaniel Chalobah is once again part of Stuart Pearce’s England U21 squad – as confirmed yesterday.

Chalobah and England face their Swedish U21 counterparts at Walsall’s Banks’ Stadium on Tuesday.

Republic of Ireland U21 pair Sean Murray and Connor Smith have both been called up by head coach Noel King.

The duo will hope to line up against the Netherlands on Wednesday in Sligo.

At U19 level, Tommie Hoban has been called up to face the Czech Republic in two separate friendlies, both hosted in Ireland – one on Tuesday and one on Thursday.

Finally, Italian midfielder Cristian Battocchio is part of the Italian U20 squad once more as the Azzurri take on Germany.

Good luck to all those in action.