Quartet get the call as England prepare for Euro U19 finals
Posted by nickogs20 on June 27, 2009
As England get set for a European final against Germany at Under-21 level, Brian Eastick’s Under-19’s are preparing to launch their own bid to become age group champions of the continent in Ukraine next month. Four United youngsters will be part of the squad, with Eastick today selecting Ben Amos, Danny Drinkwater, Matt James and Danny Welbeck in his 18-man travelling party.
United having four representatives in the squad (two more than any other club) is in many ways a fitting end to a season that has seen national coaches at all age levels leaning heavily on the young talent being honed at Carrington, particularly those native to England. Welbeck’s inclusion is also very much a happy ending to the campaign after the 18 year-old was forced to withdraw from the Under-21 squad earlier in the summer – he figures to be one of the U19s key men.
The inclusion of Ben Amos is perhaps the biggest surprise, the Macclesfield-born keeper having not been part of the U19 setup for some time. He did feature in a rare England U20 outing earlier in the year, and while his impressive form for United’s reserves down the stretch somehow wasn’t enough to force him into the reckoning for the elite qualifying round, it seems to have been sufficient to earn him the nod for the main event ahead of Huddersfield’s Alex Smithies (who may be injured) and Norwich’s Declan Rudd.
Matt James has made something of a late charge to secure his place in the squad, only making his U19 debut in that trio of elite qualifying round games. He completed all 270 minutes that week and did more than enough to nail down a squad place. Danny Drinkwater on the other hand has been a fixture in Eastick’s squad all season and his inclusion was something of a foregone conclusion. Other recognisable names in the squad include Everton’s Dan Gosling, Aston Villa’s Nathan Delfouneso and Spurs’ Danny Rose.
The tournament is still nearly four weeks away, kicking off on July 21st in Ukraine. England have got what looks to be a favourable draw, on paper at least, having been joined in Group A by the hosts, Switzerland and Slovenia. Group B, comprising France, Spain, Serbia (with Adem Ljajic) and Turkey looks to be a significantly tougher proposition. England are based in Donetsk and will play twice at the FC Metalurh Stadium, facing the Swiss on the 21st and the Slovenians on the 27th, those games sandwiching a clash with Ukraine at the Olimpiyskyi Stadium on the 25th. If the Young Lions progress, their semi-final will take place on July 30th, with the final taking place on August 2nd.
As ever, we’ll have full updates both leading up to and during the tournament.