Cameron Jerome has been called into England's Under-21 squad as Steve Bruce, his manager at Birmingham City, dismissed speculation regarding a late transfer swoop.

Jerome was dismissed five minutes into his debut and has yet to score for Birmingham. He faces fierce competition from Dudley 'DJ' Campbell, Mikael Forssell and Niklas Bendtner for a starting position.

The grapevine was awash with speculation that Neil Mellor's move to Preston North End could trigger David Nugent's switch to Sheffield United which, in turn, would prompt Bruce to make a move for Ade Akinbiyi.

Bruce, however, has dismissed such suggestions out of hand and not only declared not only no interest in the former Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, but also said he is unlikely to make any further additions to his squad. That should galvanise Jerome, who acquired his fourth Under-21 cap earlier this month after replacing Nugent in the 2-2 draw with Moldova.

Peter Taylor, the Under-21 manager, was suitably impressed and Jerome is in the squad for the European Championship qualifying group match against Switzerland in Lucerne next Wednesday. England need to win to progress to the finals in Holland next year.

Marcus Bent is another target unlikely to be pursued, with Bruce happy to leave his remaining transfer funds in the pot in case he needs to bolster his squad in January.

"I am happy with what I've got in the squad but nothing surprises me in football," he said.

"There are still a couple of days before the transfer window shuts; you never know but I do expect it to be quiet on our part."

Stephen Kelly's calf injury, which is expected to sideline him for up to three weeks, will mean Bruce is likely to retain all his squad.

Kelly sustained a tear to his calf in last week's defeat at Cardiff City and withdrew from the Republic of Ireland's squad to face Germany on Saturday. His injury will negate any possibility of a player such as Stephen Clemence, Julian Gray and Martin Taylor leaving. Nottingham Forest are believed to be keeping tabs on Clemence while Wolves are monitoring Taylor's situation.

Gray's former club, Crystal Palace are also seeing how his campaign develops, as is Wolves manager Mick McCarthy.

John Barnes were the joint managers and morale was low. Towards the end of the season, with Barnes now departed, Dalglish inspired Petrov but this was nothing compared to the effect that O'Neill would have.

"Martin was straight to the point and asked me what position I preferred to play in," Petrov said. "When I told him it was the centre of midfield, he promised me a chance to play there.

"By giving me that opportunity, there could be no excuses if things didn't work out for me during his stew-ardship. He also told me to improve my fitness if I wanted to play in his team."

Petrov no longer needs to improve his fitness. He will lead Bulgaria out against Romania in Bucharest on Saturday, then against Slovenia next Wednesday, before he makes his Aston Villa debut at West Ham United on September 10.

O'Neill clearly intends to fashion Villa in his own image.

The arrival of Petrov is the first stage of the transformation.