With John Terry now retired from international football, there had been plenty of speculation about who the fourth central defender would be.
Tottenham's Steven Caulker seemed like the obvious choice but he was named in Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad yesterday, so Stoke's Shawcross has been picked for only the second time, having failed to win a cap when he was chosen for the friendly against Egypt by Fabio Capello in March 2010.
Arsenal's Gibbs, who has two caps from friendly encounters against Hungary and France, has replaced Ryan Bertrand in the squad and has been rewarded for his excellent performances for Arsenal this season.
Like Caulker, Jack Butland has been released to the Under-21s for their European Championship play-off with Serbia, leading to Celtic's Forster becoming a rare England selection from the Scottish Premier League.
In addition, Tottenham's Aaron Lennon has been called up despite having not played for England since the 2010 World Cup.
There was no return for Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, though.
Hodgson said Ferdinand was left out of his Euro 2012 squad for "footballing reasons".
However, Ferdinand was convinced his omission was a direct result of Hodgson's decision to select Terry and a belief it would be too toxic to considering choosing both veteran centre-halves.
Terry was to stand trial of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton, eventually being cleared of the charge by Westminster Magistrates Court in July, but that did not prevent him being found guilty under FA rules.
The 31-year-old was banned for four matches and given a £220,000 fine by the FA for using insulting words towards Ferdinand but not before announcing his retirement from international football after being capped 78 times.
On the eve of his hearing, Terry issued a statement announcing he was making himself unavailable for future selection due to the FA making his position "untenable".
The England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland is: Hart (Manchester City), Ruddy (Norwich), Forster (Celtic); Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Lescott (Manchester City), Shawcross (Stoke), Walker (Tottenham); Carrick (Manchester United), Cleverley (Manchester United), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Gerrard (Liverpool), A Johnson (Sunderland), Lennon (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Manchester City), Walcott (Arsenal); Carroll (West Ham, on loan from Liverpool), Defoe (Tottenham), Rooney (Manchester United), Welbeck (Manchester United).