'Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw give U21s a boost'

Thursday 02 Oct 2014
Luke Shaw is available to play for England Under-21s

Gareth Southgate has welcomed the inclusion of defenders Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers in his England Under-21s squad for the Euro play-off with Croatia.

The pair have already been capped at senior level by Roy Hodgson, with Shaw involved in the World Cup this summer and Chambers making his debut against Norway last month.

But with a place in next summer’s Euro Finals at stake for the Under-21s, Southgate and Hodgson agree that both players would benefit most from being involved in the play-offs.

England U21s v Croatia U21s

UEFA Euro U21 Championship
Play-off first leg
5.45pm, Friday 10 October
Molineux, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC
Live on BT Sport
Call 0871 222 1877 for tickets

“Roy and myself work very closely every time there is a squad announced and Luke and Calum have been in and around that senior squad already,” said Southgate.

“Because of the fact that it’s a play-off game, Roy was keen for those players that he didn’t think would start for him to be with us this time around.

“That’s the sort of joined-up thinking that we’re trying to put in place really, so for the boys I’m very conscious that they’ve got to have the desire to come and do that and are committed to come and do that.

“They understand the situation and are keen to help the team as much as they can because getting to the Finals of this competition is an important experience for all of their development.”

Shaw is no stranger in Southgate’s squad, having already featured in three games during the group qualifying stage, whilst it is Chambers’ first involvement having previously captained the U19s last season before his senior call-up in August.

And the head coach believes the duo will fit straight back into his group when they report to St. George’s Park for duty on Sunday evening.

“It’s not easy for Luke in particular, whose last game for England was in the World Cup Finals but he’s still a young player and has only got a handful of England appearances at any level,” added the former Middlesbrough boss.

“So in terms of his own experience and his own development, to play in a play-off game where there’s some pressure on us is a good experience.

Calum Chambers

Calum Chambers is yet to play for England Under-21s

“Also, he’s only had a couple of matches back from injury for Manchester United at this stage so in terms of his fitness it will be good as well.

“So it sends out a good message as well, that somebody like him who we believe is going to be a top player and part of the seniors in the future, is prepared to come and be a part of the group.

“Calum could have been with us at the end of last season, but we felt it was more important for him to captain the U19s in their Elite Qualifying Round.”

There was also a relative clamour for West Bromwich Albion striker Saido Berahino to be named in Hodgson’s squad, following a bright start to the new season for him.

“Saido has been exceptional for us throughout the campaign. I'm sure he is in Roy's thoughts”

Gareth Southgate 


But having spearheaded the Under-21s’ attack in the campaign so far with eight goals, he was always likely to remain with Southgate for the crucial games in the play-offs.

“Saido has been exceptional for us throughout the campaign,” he added.

“It was well documented that he lost his way at bit at the end of last season but he’s shown a real hunger and desire at the beginning of this season.

“I’m sure he’s close to Roy’s thoughts, but we’ve also got to make sure that the level required to get into the seniors becomes higher and higher.

“He’s had a good start to the season and he’s got to maintain that and continue to perform over a period of time.”

Tickets are on sale for the Croatia game at Molineux now, priced at just £10 and £5 via the Wolves Ticketline on 0871 222 1877 or online here.

By Nicholas Veevers Content Manager - FA Owned Channels