Teenager Ben Sahar called up to national team squad

17-year-old Chelsea striker has only played twice for Israel's U21 team.

Dror Kashtan 224.88 (photo credit: )
Dror Kashtan 224.88
(photo credit: )
Ben Sahar was called-up to the Israel national team for the first time on Sunday afternoon, when he was named in coach Dror Kashtan's 22-man squad for the international friendly match against Ukraine on Wednesday at the National Stadium in Ramat Gan. The 17-year-old Chelsea striker, who has only made three substitute appearances for the English champion since moving to London from Hapoel Tel Aviv in the summer, has only played twice for Israel's U21 team. But he made such a big impression in his brief outings that Kashtan has now decided to take a closer look at the gifted teenager. Sahar is one of five U21 squad players promoted by Kashtan, which will undoubtedly anger the U21 coach, Guy Levy, who has claimed in the past that the calling-up of his players to the senior squad hurts his sides' preparations for this summers European Under 21 Championships. Eight Betar Jerusalem players, including Arik Benado, are also part of the squad for the friendly, with the veteran defender being called-up for the first time since Kashtan took charge. Benado, who has played for the national team a record 88 times, will break the appearance record once more if he plays on Wednesday in what is Israel's final match before the team's Euro 2008 qualifier against England on March 24. Israel squad: Goalkeepers: Dudu Awat (Deportivo La Coruna), Shavit Elimelech (Hapoel Tel Aviv) Defenders: Tal Ben-Haim (Bolton Wanderers, Dekel Keinan (Maccabi Haifa), Arik Benado, Shimon Gershon, Roni Gafni, Yoav Ziv, Tomer Ben Yossef (Betar Jerusalem), Klemi Saban (Steaua Bucharest), Yuval Spungin(Maccabi Tel Aviv). Midfielders & Forwards: Yossi Benayoun (West Ham Utd), Walid Badier, Salim Toema (Hapoel Tel Aviv), Michael Zandberg, Gal Alberman, Amit Ben-Shushan (Betar Jerusalem), Yaniv Katan, Lior Refaelov (Maccabi Haifa), Omer Golan(Maccabi Petah Tikva), Pini Balili (Sivaspor), Ben Sahar (Chelsea).