A brilliant Xl of players eligible for England Under-21s’ Euro squad
While we’re not going to call it a ‘Golden Generation’, England currently boast a really exciting crop of young players.
Gareth Southgate still has experienced players like Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson in his senior squad, but it’s the young prospects currently emerging that have got people excited.
We’ve picked an Xl of players who would still be eligible to play for England’s Under-21s – those born on January 1, 1998 and beyond – in the upcoming European Under-21 Championship, should the competition still go ahead.
GK: Aaron Ramsdale
Part of the England side that won the UEFA European Under-19 Championship in 2017, Ramsdale is yet to receive his first call-up to their senior squad.
After impressing at Bournemouth, the goalkeeper completed an £18.5million move to Sheffield United in 2020 but has endured a difficult debut season at Bramall Lane.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold
It’s easy to forget that Alexander-Arnold is still only 22 years old.
The Liverpool right-back has already played in two Champions League finals, winning one, and helped the Reds end their long wait for a Premier League title in 2019-20.
CB: Ben Godfrey
Despite suffering relegation with Norwich City in 2019-20, Godfrey did enough to impress in the Premier League and was linked with AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen.
The centre-back eventually completed a £25million move to Everton and has made 17 appearances in all competitions in 2020-21 as his reputation continues to rise.
CB: Rhys Williams
After spending 2019-20 on loan at Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North, Williams has been thrown in at the deep end for Liverpool this season due to their injury crisis in defence.
He has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season and impressed against Tottenham’s Harry Kane on his Premier League debut.
“Oh my god! Outstanding, outstanding,” Jurgen Klopp told Amazon Prime after the game. “Come on, Rhys Williams you can imagine, it’s like the modern-day Alan Shearer he played against, Harry Kane.
“He is so smart, dropping in the right moments. Second half they only played long balls and actually avoided Rhys.
“They played them in the direction of Fabinho and put Harry there – so we had to really fight for these second balls – because Rhys is so strong in the air.”
LB: Ryan Sessegnon
It feels like Sessegnon has been around for ages and we’re struggling to get our heads around the fact that he’s only 20 years old.
After a difficult debut season at Tottenham following his £25million move from Fulham, he’s now rediscovering his best form on loan at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.
CDM: Declan Rice
Since switching allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England in 2019, Rice has amassed 13 caps for the Three Lions.
The 22-year-old has developed into one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League, helping West Ham challenge for the European places.
He has been heavily linked with Chelsea and Manchester United in recent months and is reportedly valued at around £80million.
CM: Mason Mount
It’s probably safe to assume that Gareth Southgate won’t be allowing Mount to drop down to the Under-21 squad any time soon.
CM: Phil Foden
Scorer of a sensational solo goal in the 2019 European Championships, Foden has gone from strength to strength over the last two years.
Having come through Manchester City academy, he is now one of the first names on the team sheet, helping to fill the void left by David Silva’s departure.
The 20-year-old has also made three appearances for England’s senior side and scored twice in their 4-0 win over Iceland in November 2020.
“We know what he’s capable of doing,” Southgate said. “He’s one of a few that are going to be very exciting over the next few years for England.”
RW: Jadon Sancho
After playing for England’s Under-19s, Sancho skipped the Under-21s and was called up to the senior squad for the first time in October 2018.
The winger hasn’t looked back since, starring for Borussia Dortmund’s first team and becoming one of the hottest prospects in world football.
It’d probably be unfair on all of the other teams involved in the competition if Sancho was selected in Aidy Boothroyd’s squad.
ST: Mason Greenwood
With Harry Kane firmly established himself as England’s No.9, Greenwood may have to bide his time with the Under-21s for now.
He enjoyed a brilliant breakthrough season with Manchester United in 2019-20, becoming the first player aged 18 or under to score 10 goals in a Premier League season since Michael Owen in 1997-98.
The forward has struggled to replicate that form so far this season but undoubtedly has a bright future for both club and country.
LW: Bukayo Saka
Saka also had an impressive breakthrough season in 2019-20, establishing himself in the Arsenal side and winning the FA Cup.
The 19-year-old has been one of the best teenagers in Europe this campaign, registering five goals and two assists in 20 Premier League appearances.
He’s already made four senior appearances for England and will be hoping to add to that tally in 2021.
Subs: Brandon Austin, Reece James, James Justin, Jude Bellingham, Curtis Jones, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Eddie Nketiah.