Plenty of talent to grace Banks's Stadium pitch...MANCHESTER United defender Phil Jones has been called into the England Under-21s squad for next Tuesday’s clash with Sweden here at Banks's Stadium (kick-off 7.30pm).
The 20-year-old, who last featured for Stuart Pearce’s side at the European Championship Finals in 2011, returned from injury for Manchester United in November.
Equally at home in defence or midfield, he’ll add extra experience to the Under-21s squad who are building up for their Euro 2013 campaign in June.
There is one new face in Pearce’s 24-man squad. 17-year-old Southampton left-back Luke Shaw, who has been impressive for the Saints in the Premier League this season, gets his first taste of the Under-21s.
Pearce has also called upon regular players captain Jordan Henderson, Jason Lowe and Craig Dawson, who were pivotal as his team won six out of six last year and clinched qualification to Israel.
“I’m lucky that I’ve got Lowe, Dawson and Henderson,” Pearce told TheFA.com. “You could manage for 50 years and not find three more professional and dedicated players than those lads. We’re very lucky to have this clutch of players involved with the 21s.”
Henderson is joined by fellow Liverpool stars Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling, who both made their Senior Team bows earlier this season, as well as Jack Robinson and Andre Wisdom.
And there is also a place for Derby County youngster Will Hughes, who made his Under-21s debut against Northern Ireland in November.
“Will Hughes is a real talent in the Championship and he’s exciting to watch,” continued the former England defender. “We have to make sure he doesn’t play too many games as he’s still young but he’s worthy of his place in that Derby team as he makes them tick.”
Pearce added: “It has been nearly three months since we were last together as a squad, so we are looking forward to meeting up again at St. George’s Park to spend time working on our preparations for what will be an important year.
“We've always said that reaching major Finals at youth level is vital in a player’s development so they can learn about what they might expect, should they progress to the Senior Team and find themselves at a World Cup or European Championship.
“For a number of the young players lucky enough to experience the Finals in June it will prove to be an invaluable time in Israel, and perhaps a springboard to Roy's side, with Brazil 2014 on the horizon.”
Ben Amos (Manchester United), Declan Rudd (Norwich City), Jason Steele (Middlesbrough)
Ryan Bennett (Norwich City), Nathaniel Clyne (Southampton), Craig Dawson (Bolton Wanderers - loan from West Brom), Phil Jones (Manchester United), Tom Lees (Leeds United), Jack Robinson (Liverpool), Luke Shaw (Southampton), Adam Smith (Millwall - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool)
Nat Chalobah (Watford - loan from Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Will Hughes (Derby County), Henri Lansbury (Nottingham Forest), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough - loan from Chelsea), Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool), Raheem Sterling (Liverpool)
Benik Afobe (Bolton Wanderers - loan from Arsenal), Tom Ince (Blackpool), Connor Wickham (Sunderland), Wilfred Zaha (Crystal Palace - loan from Manchester United)
Fans can get tickets to watch England’s young stars for the terrific price of just £10 for adults, £5 for children and a family ticket (two adults and two children) is only £20.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Banks's Stadium Ticket Office on 01922-651 416...