England Under-21 Squad: Player Profiles
Stuart Pearce has named his 23-man squad for the upcoming UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals in Sweden.
England take on Finland, Germany and Spain in Group B at the finals and will be looking to improve on their semifinal defeat of two years ago.
Below I take a look at the players Pearce has picked to represent the Three Lions in Sweden this summer (appearances and goals for England Under-21s in brackets).
Joe Hart (17/0)
The Manchester City may have been displaced in his club side but remains vital to the under-21 side having played all ten qualifying games, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Was an unused member of the squad which reached the semifinals in 2007. Has also been capped once at senior level.
Joe Lewis (3/0)
Has just achieved back-to-back promotions with club side Peterborough United and was surprisingly called up Capello for the senior side last summer but didn’t make it off the bench in the friendlies against the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.
Scott Loach (2/0)
The young Watford goalkeeper made his debut as a substitute in the Under-21s recent 3-2 defeat to Ecuador in Malaga. Likely to be third-choice behind Hart and Lewis.
Martin Cranie (11/0)
The Portsmouth player, who spent half of the season on loan at Charlton, started half of England’s qualifying games at right-back.
Kieran Gibbs (2/0)
Another who didn’t appear during qualifying but the 19-year-old left-back has forced his way into Pearce’s thinking after some strong end-of-season displays in place of the injured Gaël Clichy.
Michael Mancienne (11/0)
The Chelsea defender started both Playoff matches against Wales. Has often appeared in a defensive-midfield role under Stuart Pearce. Was called into the senior squad for last November’s friendly in Germany but did not appear in the match.
Nedum Onuoha (18/1)
Played all four games of England’s run to the semifinals two years ago, injuries restricted the Manchester City defender to just four appearances during qualifying.
Micah Richards (5/1)
Still only 20, Richards has already won 11 senior caps, all gained under Steve McClaren, and was England’s youngest ever defender. Did not appear for the Under-21s during the qualifiers but has five caps to his name.
Andrew Taylor (11/0)
Middlesbrough left-back Taylor also appeared in the same five qualifiers as Cranie, keeping clean sheets in every one.
Steven Taylor (29/4)
Ever-present during the qualifiers, Newcastle’s Taylor also started three of England’s four games in the 2007 finals.
James Tomkins (0/0)
The 20-year-old centre back is uncapped at this level but has previously represented England at Under-19 and Under-20 level. Started eleven consecutive Premier League games for West Ham after replacing the injured James Collins in a game at Bolton in February.
Lee Cattermole (9/0)
Made only four starts during qualifying, but did play both of the crucial Playoff games against Wales. Started 33 Premier League games for Wigan this season, only missing five matches due to the two red cards he received.
Andrew Driver (0/0)
Hearts winger Driver was born in Oldham but represented Scotland at schoolboy level after moving there at age 11. Currently ineligible for Scotland through blood ties but they had hoped to secure his playing future with a change in eligibility rules stretching to include those with five years schooling in the country.
Craig Gardner (10/1)
The Aston Villa midfielder started four of the qualifiers and has proved equally adept at right-back as well as in midfield for club and country.
Adam Johnson (14/4)
The tricky left-winger scored two in four during the qualifiers and recently scored a superb solo goal in the friendly defeat to Ecuador. Appeared mostly as a substitute for Middlesbrough this season.
James Milner (42/8)
England’s record cap holder at his level, Milner is the team’s talisman and was an ever-present in qualifying scoring five goals. Started all four games at the 2007 finals.
Fabrice Muamba (14/0)
Made just three starts in qualifying but could fill in for the injured Huddlestone in the group stages. Appeared in all 38 of Bolton’s Premier League games this season.
Mark Noble (15/3)
West Ham’s Noble scored three goals in his seven appearances in qualifying, establishing a good partnership with Tom Huddlestone in the process.
Jack Rodwell (1/0)
Rodwell only turned 18 in March and featured in half of Everton’s Premier League games this season, starting nine. Made his Under-21 debut as a late substitute in recent friendly defeat to France. Currently playing mostly in central midfield but club manager Moyes has stated that his long term future may be at centre back.
Gabriel Agbonlahor (13/5)
The Aston Villa forward should spearhead England’s frontline in Sweden after scoring four goals in eight games during qualifying. Agbonlahor controversially missed the Under-21 finals in Holland two years ago despite being named by Pearce in the final squad. Has two full caps to his name after starting friendlies against Germany and Spainthis season under Capello.
Fraizer Campbell (9/3)
The Manchester United striker did not start any of the qualifying games but could push Pearce for a starting place alongside Agbonlahor but will most likely provide the manager with a serious attacking option from the bench.
Theo Walcott (15/6)
One of few players to appear for the senior side (in a friendly prior to travelling to the 2006 World Cup) before turning out for the Under-21s for the first time against Moldova in August 2006. Has six caps and three goals for the senior side but started seven of England’s ten qualifiers for the Under-21s.
Danny Welbeck (2/0)
Only 18 the Manchester United youngster has represented England at all levels up to the Under-21s so far. Made his Under-21 debut against Ecuador in February.
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