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Europe, Under 21s

England vs Italy – Under 21s Preview

England Under 21s will face their Italian counterparts in Empoli on Tuesday night.

A surprise inclusion into Stuart Pearce’s squad is Jay Rodriguez.

Stuart Pearce will lead the squad into this summers European Championships

The Burnley striker has scored only six goals in over twenty Championship games this season, so questions will be raised whether he deserves his place.

With competition from Nathan Delfouneso and Daniel Sturridge, it’s unlikely that Rodriguez will play the whole match, but nevertheless could debutise as a substitute.

Despite this, Rodgriuez has called the England call-up “unbelivable” and told thefa.com “”I am just stunned. I still don’t think it’s sunk in yet but I’m looking forward to it and I will enjoy it,” said Rodriguez. “To play someone like Italy is massive and just to be part of England is unbelievable and something I never thought of.

“I feel as though I am learning every day around some great players here at Burnley, but this is unbelievable and a dream come true.”

Other call-ups to the squad include Southampton wonderkid, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and recent senior debutees, Kieran Gibbs and Jordan Henderson.

The friendly match acts as preparation for this summers European Championships. After reaching the 2007 semi-final, the 2009 final, can the England squad go one better this time?

Full Squad for friendly against Italy on 8th February.

Goalkeepers
Frankie Fielding (Blackburn Rovers), Scott Loach (Watford), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)

Defenders
Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Martin Kelly (Liverpool), Ben Mee (Leicester City – loan from Manchester City), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), James Tomkins (West Ham United), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa – loan from Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders
Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa), Jack Cork (Burnley – loan from Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Southampton), Jordan Henderson (Sunderland), Henri Lansbury (Norwich City – loan from Arsenal), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)

Forwards
Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley), Daniel Sturridge (Bolton Wanderers – loan from Chelsea)

You can find a full match report on the Youth Radar on Wednesday.

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About Tom Bennett

I'm a 21-year-old Multimedia Journalism student at Bournemouth University aspiring to be one of Britain's top sports journalists. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for contact and further information.

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