England U21’s face France [on Tuesday 18 June] in their first match of the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championships in Italy with many future first-team players poised to feature in Aidy Bothroyd’s side.
The Young Lions are one of the favourites for the tournament and are blessed with many talents throughout the 23-man squad.
We take a look at five England players to look out for in the tournament this summer.
Leicester City’s James Maddison is a highly-talented youngster who is poised to start for the Young Lions in the 2019 U21 European Championships on Tuesday. The 22-year-old has had a terrific debut season at the King Power Stadium, chipping in with seven goals and seven assists in 38 appearances for the Foxes. Maddison can play anywhere across the midfield and he’s often deployed in the ‘number 10’ position, just behind the striker. The former Norwich man’s link-up play is a key attribute in his game – his influence could be crucial in the Young Lions’ chances this summer. Maddison was rewarded for his positive start to the 2018/19 campaign with a call up to the England first-team squad back in October. He didn’t make an appearance for Gareth Southgate’s side, but if Maddison continues performing at a top level then it wouldn’t be a surprise if he earned his first cap sooner rather than later.
Off the back of signing a new five-year contract at Leicester, Harvey Barnes will be full of confidence going into England’s first group game against France. Barnes spent the first half of the season on-loan at West Bromwich Albion, where he bagged nine goals and provided six assists. The 21-year-old’s form at the Baggies earned him a recall back to City in the January transfer window. Barnes has impressed since he returned to the Foxes, becoming a vital asset to Brendan Rodgers’ side. His electric pace terrorises defences – and if Barnes can produce his club form for the Young Lions then he will be a player to look out for this summer.
After having a superb season on-loan at Derby County, Fikayo Tomori is a name to look out for when the Young Lions face France on Tuesday. Tomori was one of the standout defenders in the 2018/19 Championship season. He made 305 interceptions and 46 blocks in 55 appearances for the Rams. The 21-year-old’s tough-tackling nature caught the eye of many – and as things stand, Tomori will return to parent club Chelsea for the start of the new season. It looks likely that Tomori will be partnered with Ezri Konsa at the heart of the England defence, and his leadership could be vital in England’s progress. A star for the future that’s for sure.
Just like Tomori, Mason Mount has had a fantastic campaign on-loan at Derby. The Chelsea youngster’s ability to create and conjure-up opportunities is something that stood out while at the Rams last season. Mount’s impact was told when he missed a couple of months due to injury – and in his first game back, the midfielder scored one and grabbed four assists in a 6-1 win over Rotherham. Derby boss Frank Lampard rates the 21-year-old very highly, and when he can link-up with the likes of Maddison and Barnes in the England side, Mount is a player that can shine in Italy.
What a season this man has had. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was one of the standout young players in the Premier League last season. One aspect of his game that stood out was his energy and positivity down the Palace right, linking up with Andros Townsend. The 21-year-old provided three assists and created many clear-cut chances for his teammates in a brilliant breakout campaign. Many thought that Wan-Bissaka was unlucky to miss out in the Premier League Team of the Year, but fellow Englishman Trent Alexander-Arnold was chosen in the right-back instead – which wasn’t a surprise. This England U21s side is one of the most exciting for years and Wan-Bissaka has the capabilities to flourish in it that’s for sure.
What are your expectations for the tournament? Let us know in the comments below!
featured image credit sky sports