England Under-21s kick off their European Championship campaign against Switzerland on Thursday.
With games against Croatia and Portugal to come in the ‘Group of Death’ the Young Lions will need to get off to a good start in their opener.
Manager Aidy Boothroyd is also under pressure to produce a better performance then their 2019 tournament, when England crashed out at the group stage. Due to this, he is likely to play his strongest side against Switzerland. Here is what that starting XI could look like…
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – Sheffield United stopper Ramsdale is the undisputed number one for England and he should start each of his side’s three group games.
Max Aarons (RB) – He may not have got his move to Barcelona in the summer but Aarons has not let that affect his performance this season. He will face competition from Japhet Tanganga for the right-back spot but he should get the nod.
Marc Guehi (CB) – Chelsea loanee Guehi has done well at Swansea City this campaign. The Swans have one of the best defensive records in the Championship and the 20-year-old’s dominant displays are a big reason why.
Ryan Sessegnon (LB) – With 16 Under-21 caps to his name, Sessegnon is nailed on to start at left-back. His brother Steven is also in the squad.
Tom Davies (CM) – Somehow Tom Davies is still only 22 years old. He is a stalwart of the Under-21 side and no one in the current squad has made more than his 21 appearances.
Curtis Jones (CM) – The emergence of Jones as a genuine first team option has been one of the few highlights of Liverpool’s terrible season. He only has three England caps to his name so far, but we expect he will add to that as the tournament progresses.
Emile Smith-Rowe (AM) – The likes of Eberechi Eze, Conor Gallagher and Todd Cantwell will all be pushing for this spot, but we expect Smith-Rowe to get the nod. If he does, it will be his first ever appearance for the Under-21s.
Callum Hudson-Odoi (RW) – Hudson-Odoi has had an eventual time since Thomas Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge. His performances will be key if England are to progress to the knockout stages.
Eddie Nketiah (ST) – No one has scored more goals for England Under-21s than Nketiah. Although he has not managed to get going at Arsenal yet, his record at international level is astounding.
Dwight McNeil (LW) – The hard working McNeil will appreciate playing in a side with more attacking freedom than he is used to at Burnley. Boothroyd is a big fan of the youngster, which is why he will be selected over Rhian Brewster and others.