Gareth Southgate assesses Toulon Tournament selection

Thursday 28 Apr 2016
England Under-21s Gareth Southgate

England Under-21s boss Gareth Southgate is hoping to find out who his side will face at the Toulon Tournament next week.

The Three Lions head coach will take a squad to southern France in May for what would be a minimum of four games and a potential further match over the space of ten days.

With ten nations set to be involved, made up of two groups of five, Southgate is expecting to learn who England will be lining up against over the next week.

England Under-21s head coach Gareth Southgate.

Southgate enjoyed his time at the Toulon Tournament in 2014 when he took an U21 team to France

And the rigorous schedule at Toulon means the former Middlesbrough boss is looking forward to the annual competition in order to give all of his players significant playing time.

"We’re affected by the Football League play-offs and The FA Cup Final, so that will alter our selection," he revealed.

"But again, there are players that I’ve wanted to look at who I will be able give some match time and that’s important for us as a group.

"We’ve got some boys who we see good potential in who will definitely start matches for us so I’m looking forward to that, as well as some of the lads who have started more regularly for us."

Southgate led an U21 team to fourth place at Toulon two years ago, before Aidy Boothroyd achieved the same with an U20 line-up last year.

That means most of the players at his disposal already have experience of the Toulon Tournament, but that won’t affect Southgate’s selection.

"A lot of the lads, nearly all of them, will have been to Toulon before whether that was last year or two years ago," he explained.

"I think we’ll look at it on an individual basis [of selection] in terms of what we’re trying to get out of it. 

"We know that a couple of the boys who were with us two years ago are really keen to go again.

"And we are again in that situation where a lot of our players aren’t playing regular football with their clubs so the U21 programme is one which they look forward to even more."

By Nicholas Veevers