Pearce names strong England Under-21 squad for Romania and Austria friendlies

The Young Lions have upcoming friendlies on March 21 and 25, and are looking to impress their manager to earn a place at this summer's European Championship in Israel
England Under-21 boss Stuart Pearce has named a strong 28-man squad for next week's friendly matches against Romania and Austria, as he takes his last chance to assess the players before this summer's European Championship in Israel.

The likes of Jack Butland, Steven Caulker, Raheem Sterling and Wilfried Zaha all drop down from the senior squad, having featured in recent friendly fixtures against Sweden and Brazil.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson will once again captain the side, and is joined by fellow full international and club team-mate Jonjo Shelvey in the squad.

Pearce's men are looking to extend a record-breaking seven-match winning streak, and will be hoping to impress their manager in Wycombe and Brighton respectively in order to seal their place in the trimmed-down squad for Israel.

"We are now moving into our final preparations for what we hope will be a prosperous summer at the European Championship in Israel," Pearce told reporters.

"These games against Romania and Austria are our last before I have to name my 23-man squad for June.

"Next week is an important opportunity for the players to impress as they look to secure a seat on the plane.

"I must say, I have been very impressed with all those who have been in the squad and it’s pleasing for me to see just how much they want to be involved and are hungry for success."  

England Under-21 squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Ben Amos, Jack Butland, Declan Rudd, Jason Steele.

Defenders: Ryan Bennett, Steven Caulker, Nathaniel Clyne, Craig Dawson, Tom Lees, Jack Robinson, Danny Rose, Luke Shaw, Adam Smith, Andre Wisdom.

Midfielders: Tom Carroll, Nathaniel Chalobah, Jordan Henderson, Henri Lansbury, Jason Lowe, Josh McEachran, Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling, Andros Townsend.

Forwards: Nathan Delfouneso, Tom Ince, Marvin Sordell, Connor Wickham, Wilfried Zaha.