Tomorrow marks the start of the UEFA European U21 Championships in the Czech Republic. It will be the 20th staging of the tournament as eight nations come together to battle it out for a trophy currently held by Spain.
Spain however, will not get the chance to retain their title with a squad that may have featured Arsenal's Hector Bellerín as they were knocked out in the qualification play-offs by Serbia. Their opponents in the 2013 final, Italy, have qualified though.
Among the competitors are the hosts Czech Republic who are in Group A with Denmark, Germany and Serbia whilst England, Portugal, Sweden and Italy make up Group B. Apart of those groups will be young Arsenal players past and present who will be hoping to make an impact for their countries at this year's U21 Euro's.
Carl Jenkinson - England
One of the young Gunners hoping to make an impact in the Czech Republic is right-back Carl Jenkinson who forms a part of Gareth Soughgate's 23 man squad for the tournament. Jenkinson is actually 23 but qualifies to play in the competition having taken part in the qualification phase whilst still aged 21. Therefore this presents the young defender with his last chance of playing for England's U21 side. Previously Carl has played for Finland U21s through his Finnish mother but after playing for the senior English side in 2012 he showed he was ready to commit to his country of birth. What's interesting though, is that Jenkinson played for the senior side before he actually made his debut in the U21 team. Since making his debut in 2013 though he's made 11 appearances, a tally he'll be hoping to add to throughout this year's tournament.
Calum Chambers - England
A more familiar face at Arsenal this season was Calum Chambers who initially impressed in his debut season at the club before struggling for regular first-team minutes as Wenger opted for experience as opposed to burning out the youth players. The young defender will provide competition for Carl Jenkinson at right back but Southgate may choose to operate him at centre-back, which arguably suits him better. Like Jenkinson though, Chambers made his senior England debut before featuring for the U21 side. Calum has played three times for the senior side but has only won two caps at U21 level after making his debut against the hosts of this years tournament, Czech Republic in March. England do have some very good young defenders at their disposal so it will be interesting to see whether Chambers does indeed nail down a starting place.
Serge Gnabry - Germany
An almost non-existent figure at Arsenal this season, Serge Gnabry will be aiming to make a big impact for Germany at this year's U21 European Championships after being called up last month. Gnabry had a breakthrough campaign at Arsenal in 2013/14 but after a injury hit season in 2014/15, he didn't make a single appearance for the senior side. He did however impress when he returned to Arsenal's U21s and he'll be hoping to carry that on for Germany. The young forward is still only 19 but a good tournament could give him a strong chance of featuring for the senior Arsenal team going into the 2015/16 campaign. Gnabry has only won 2 caps for Germany so far, one of which came in a 3-2 defeat to England U21 at the back end of March. Despite that, Germany go into the tournament as one of the favourites.
Within the U21 tournament that starts tomorrow, Sweden bolster a squad that contains ex-Gunner Kristoffer Olsson. Olsson is now playing his trade at Danish side FC Midtjylland after making a loan move permanent in the January transfer window. The young Swede played on a few occasions for Arsenal, scoring in a a pre-season game back in 2013 against Indonesia where he also featured in a tour game against Vietnam. He meanwhile made his competitive debut against West Brom in a League Cup tie the same year as he came on as a substitute and then scored in the penalty shoot-out that saw the Gunners through to the next round. The Swede meanwhile scored in a pre-season win for Arsenal against Boreham Wood last year. Olsson is still only 19 but has made a strong impression for the Swedish U21 side, scoring three times in 10 games.
The U21 Championships will give Arsenal a better look at Daniele Rugani of Italy U21s who has been rumoured with a move to the Gunners recently. The young defender enjoyed a breakthrough campaign during a loan spell with Empoli in Serie A in 2014/15 but Rugani remains a Juventus player for now. However an impressive tournament for him could spark further rumours of a move to the Premier League this summer. The 20 year old central defender has so far played 7 times at U21 level since making his debut in 2014.