England’s U21 side will kick off their European Championship campaign today as they face off against Switzerland at the Bonifika Stadium.
Aidy Boothroyd’s side come into the tournament as one of the major favourites, having coasted through qualification with nine wins and a draw from their 10 games.
Boasting a squad full of young talent including Callum Hudson-Odoi, Curtis Jones, Ben Godfrey and Emile Smith-Rowe – they certainly have to be considered contenders.
They face Switzerland in their opening game, who themselves had a good qualification run with nine wins and only the one sole defeat.
Mason Greenwood has dropped out of England's Under-21 squad due to injury and will be replaced by Todd Cantwell.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) March 23, 2021
The major team news came two days ago, as Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood was ruled out from the upcoming fixtures through injury.
His replacement is Norwich’s Todd Cantwell, who has represented England at U17 and U21 level.
With so much talent in the squad, it’s hard to say what line-up we will see.
However, the key men are likely to be Aaron Ramsdale, Ben Godfrey, Marc Guehi, Tom Davies, Curtis Jones, Eddie Nketiah, Oliver Skipp and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Switzerland’s squad may not be as star studded as England’s, but they produced a very good qualification campaign and won’t be no pushovers.
Their star man from the qualifying groups was Andi Zeqiri who fired them through with nine goals in 10 games.
In midfield, Bastien Toma could be another key man who has played an important role for Belgian side KRC Genk this season.
At the back, Jordan Lotomba has also been called up to the squad, despite breaking into the Switzerland senior team recently as a reward for his form for OGC Nice in Ligue 1.
From the Merseyside clubs, the trio of Curtis Jones, Tom Davies and Ben Godfrey have been called up from Liverpool and Everton respectively.
Jones has represented England at level apart from the U20 team since the U16 level, and starred in a win over Andorra in November, scoring his first U21 goal.
In Godfrey’s case, he only entered the national setup at the U20 level and has made seven appearances since for the U21’s.
He’s starred for Everton for this season and there is a strong case for him to start at centre back in Boothroyd’s team.
In Davies’ case, he has also featured heavily across the national setup apart from the U20 level.
He’s represented England over 20 times at this level however and is likely to start in midfield with Jones, as the pair from city rival clubs may just end up forming a winning partnership.
The groups stages are being played over this international break with the knockout stages due to be played May 31 to June 6.
England are in Group D, and will face Portugal, Switzerland and Croatia.
First up is Switzerland, followed by Portugal on Sunday and then Croatia on Wednesday March 31st.
England will be hoping to break a poor run in this tournament, having only made it out of the group stage once since 2011.