Middlesbrough midfielder Josh McEachran looking to impress against Northern Ireland
has been handed his first start since February for the Under-21s in Blackpool tonight and is looking to earn his place in the squad for Euro 2013
England’s Young Lions, who sealed qualification for the Finals last month
, line up for their first game in the build-up to Israel against Northern Ireland at Bloomfield Road
Alongside the Middlesbrough loanee in the starting eleven are two debutants; Manchester United midfielder Nick Powell and Liverpool defender Jack Robinson.
“It’s good, we’ve got a few new faces in the team who have settled in well,” McEachran told TheFA.com. “They are really good players, so we’re looking forward to the game.
“Will Hughes has caught my eye. I played against him earlier this season, he’s a real talent.
“This is what these friendlies are about, people getting the chance to show what we can do."
McEachran has been earning rave reviews for his performances on loan from Chelsea with Championship high-flyers Middlesbrough, and he says he's playing with confidence.
Having won a European title already for England’s U17s back in 2010, the 19-year-old is looking for another chance of glory at the Finals next summer.
“I’ve been in the set-up from the U16s to the Under-21s, so I know what it’s all about. It’s great to be picked for the 21s, and we all want to get picked for the Euros,” he said.
“That’s what we’re all working towards, so hopefully I’ll be involved next year."
McEachran added: “Since I’ve been at Middlesbrough I’ve played every game and we’re doing well as a team. I’m really enjoying myself.
“It’s given me a lot more confidence and is improving me every game as a player. We’ve got a great set of lads, so I’m enjoying playing with them, and the manager has been really great with me.”
Also in the team to face the Irish is Blackpool favourite Tom Ince, Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson skippers the side, Sunderland forward Connor Wickham starts in attack and Hull City keeper Ben Amos wears the No.1 jersey.
England Starting Line-Up
1 Ben Amos, 2 Adam Smith, 3 Jack Robinson, 4 Josh McEachran, 5 Andre Wisdom, 6 Tom Lees, 7 Tom Ince, 8 Jordan Henderson (c), 9 Connor Wickham, 10 Nick Powell, 11 Andros Townsend
12 Nathaniel Clyne, 13 Jason Steele, 14 Liam Moore, 15 Harry Maguire, 16 Nat Chalobah, 17 Will Hughes, 18 Martyn Waghorn, 19 Benik Afobe, 20 Sam Johnstone