The young Lions face Italy at Wembley tomorrow, but who were the first players to turn out for the U21s?
England v Italy
Under-21 International Friendly
12.30pm, Saturday 24 March 2007
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England have been playing matches at Under-21 level for 30 years but there won't have been a more high-profile fixture than Saturday's friendly with Italy at the new Wembley.
The 'intermediate' level for international matches was amended from Under-23 to Under-21 by UEFA in 1976 and an "England Under-21 team" was immediately created to allow us to take part in the relevant UEFA Championship.
The first Under-21 match played by England was actually a 0-0 draw against Wales in a Molineux friendly on 15 December 1976.
Only 4,000 fans saw a match in which defences dominated, with both teams offering little effort up front. In fact, England had only one worthwhile attempt at breaking the deadlock, Manchester City winger Peter Barnes firing in a 25-yarder that the Welsh 'keeper pushed out with 12 minutes remaining.
This was England's line-up on that historic day:
Paul Bradshaw, Ged Keegan, David Jones, Ray Wilkins, Steve Sims, Paul Futcher, Andy King (sub Glenn Hoddle), Alan Sunderland, David Swindlehurst, Brian Talbot and David Fairclough (Peter Barnes).
Five months later England Under-21s played their first competitive fixture, winning 1-0 in Finland in a UEFA Championship qualifier. They went on to lift the trophy under Dave Sexton in 1982 and 1984.
Currently the record attendance for an England Under-21 match is the 34,494 who watched the UEFA Championship qualifying play-off first leg with France at White Hart Lane in November 2005. Nigel Pearson's Under-21s will take centre-stage at the weekend and the 60,000 tickets on offer were snapped up inside six hours.
Well, this is the first match at Wembley!