England U21s - Germany U21s: Young Lions face favourites for Euros in big name clash
England celebrate their goal vs the Czech Republic

After a second-half goal from Tom Carroll that saw England beat Czech Republic U21s who will host the European Championships this summer, Gareth Southgate's young lions face a huge challenge in overcoming the favourites for the competition, Germany.

One of the oldest rivalries in football always stretches the tense feel about the fixture down to youth level and with the two sides looking to make an impression ahead of the U21 European Championships in the summer, there's no doubt it will a fiercely contested game.

Southgate is looking forward to the match at the Riverside, the stadium where he used to manage Middlesborough, "There is so much history to this fixture but we also know at development level, Germany have really got so much right over the last few years.

"For us it’s a great bench mark and we’ve had some good games against Germany recently at other age groups so we want to keep challenging ourselves.

"We feel that playing top quality opposition will provide a vital learning experience.”

While Harry Kane scored for the senior team on Friday night and there is some talk about whether he will be selected for the U21 Euros in June and July. Yet it is fellow Premier League striker Danny Ings, desperately trying to keep Burnley in the top division this season, who will lead the line against Germany.

England's win against the Czech Republic ensured they returned to winning ways, having lost their first match in 12 last November to France. Southgate's side have been impressive over the course of the past year or so, having wwon 12 of their last 13 now.

A win against arguably Europe's strongest youth team, Germany, would definitely be the most impressive under Southgate's reign. The former-Middlesborough manager is expected to start a similar line-up to the one in the Czech capital, Prague.

Fulham's Marcus Bettinelli should keep goal ahead of Jonathan Bond of Watford once more. Calum Chambers recently spoke of the 'honour' of being selected for the U21s, despite already making 3 senior caps for his country, in the aftermath of Tom Ince requesting not to be selected for the youth side.

"It's an honour and you should never turn it down." said Chambers, "When I was asked, of course I was going to come and play,"

Michael Keane and John Stones, another to already make his senior debut, could be the preferred centre-back pairing while Matt Targett should be on the left flank, opposite to Chambers. James Ward-Prowse, a key player for Southampton in the Premier League this season, will start and possibly captain the side if Tom Carroll doesn't recover from an injury picked up on Friday.

Germany's side boasts huge amount of talent as England's. Liverpool's Emre Can is expected to start at the Riverside stadium, as well as Schalke's Max Meyer and Hoffenheim's Kevin Volland. Senior boss, Joachim Low, said he wanted the younger players to gain experience in a tournament rather than play friendlies and as such those available will play in the U21 Euros in June.

“Players such as Emre Can, Max Meyer, Leon Goretzka and Kevin Volland have an agreement with Horst Hrubesch and they should play at the Under-21 Euros in June.

“I would prefer that they play at a high level tournament in the summer as I believe it will bring the players on, which is what we saw after the 2009 Under-21 Euros with Sami Khedira, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Mesut Özil and Benedikt Höwedes. It’s already an aim to integrate those players in the squad next season.”



Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jonathan Bond (Watford)


Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Garbutt (Everton), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Carl Jenkinson (West Ham United - loan from Arsenal), Michael Keane (Burnley), Liam Moore (Brentford - loan from Leicester City), John Stones (Everton), Matt Targett (Southampton)


Tom Carroll (Swansea City - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Chalobah (Reading - loan from Chelsea), Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton), Will Hughes (Derby County), Jesse Lingard (Derby County - loan from Manchester United), Alex Pritchard (Brentford - loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)


 Danny Ings (Burnley), Cauley Woodrow (Fulham)

Jordan Henderson encouraged younger players to go out to the tournament in the Czech Republic this summer: "I would tell any of those young lads to go out there and play in tournament football for their country at any level." he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. "I thought I gained a lot of experience doing that. It wasn't all good as I had two Under-21 tournaments and we didn't do that well in either."

A win for England U21s would be massive in the run up to the tournament this summer with not a mental boost but also a possible boost in terms of the players that would be willing to play for the youth set up in a competition. 

The Germans should be too much for England with Meyer, Volland, Can, Ginter, Leno and more fantastic talent that saw them win the World Cup last year with the senior team.