The Manchester United winger has failed to overcome an ankle knock in time for the tournament opener, with Nathan Redmond coming into the starting XI in his place
Head coach Stuart Pearce had previously announced his confidence the 20-year-old would shake off the knock, but Nathan Redmond has now been called upon to take the Manchester United winger's place in the starting line-up.
Elsewhere, Liverpool midfielders Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey and Tottenham centre-back Steven Caulker start for the young Lions, with highly rated goalkeeper Jack Butland takes his place between the posts.
Liverpool striker Fabio Borini starts for Italy and partners Napoli forward Lorenzo Insigne up front after the latter overcame a knee injury.
England U-21s: Butland; Clyne, Caulker, Dawson, Robinson; Henderson, Lowe, Shelvey, Redmond; Sordell, Wickham.
Subs: Steele, Rudd, Smith, Wisdom, Lees, Chalobah, McEachran, Zaha, Lansbury, Delfouneso.
Italy U-21s: Bardi; Donati, Biraghi, Caldirola, Bianchetti; Verratti, Florenzi, Marrone, Immobile; Insigne, Borini.
Subs: Colombi, Leali, Capuano, Regini, Bertolacci, Rossi, Crimi.