Gareth Southgate set to ring the changes in France

Monday 17 Nov 2014
Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate and his assistant Steve Holland
Gareth Southgate takes his England Under-21s team into their next big challenge on Monday evening as they face France in Brest.

The Three Lions beat fellow Euro Finalists Portugal last Thursday as they began their preparations for next summer’s competition in Czech Republic. 

They now take on a team who are still smarting after narrowly missing out on joining them in the Finals next June, following a shock play-off defeat to Sweden.

France U21s v England U21s

International U21s Match
8pm, Monday 17 November 2014
Stade Francis-Le Ble, Brest
Live on BT Sport

But despite that setback for Les Bleus, Southgate feels they will still offer a stern test of England’s Euro credentials, especially in front of their home support in Brittany.

"We have to remind ourselves that we are still coming to play one of the best teams in Europe," said the head coach.

"It was a bit of an anomaly that they didn’t get through to the Finals, but that shows just how hard this competition is.

"They’ll be similar to ourselves in that they’ll have one or two changes but they are a powerful, athletic team.

"The technical and tactical challenge for us will be a bit different to last week, as I don’t expect France to keep the ball as well as Portugal did, but they perhaps have more of a threat in the final third."

England have only this game and two more March 2015 before Southgate has to pick his 23-man squad for Czech Republic.

Following the withdrawal of both Liam Moore and Marcus Bettinelli, Southgate has travelled to France with 20-man squad at his disposal.

Carl Jenkinson is congratulated on his goal against Portugal.

England Under-21 celebrate against Portugal

And he expects to make changes to the side which played at Turf Moor last week to give all of his squad the chance to impress and experience facing an opponent such as France.

"We’ll certainly freshen the team up a little bit," he explained.

"There’s some players with us who deserve the right to start the game and also, we’re very much looking towards the summer so those players need to experience these sorts of games.

"To win the tournament next summer, we’re going to need a strong squad, not just eleven players who play every game.

"The players are aware of that and it’s been one of the strengths of our qualifying campaign really, so we’ve got to continue that."

You can watch Monday’s game in Brest live on BT Sport.

Watch footage of the squad training in France ahead of their game and hear from defender Ben Gibson


By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels in Brest, France