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March 22, 2013 3:00 AM SGT
 
 
 
 

England Under-21 - Romania Under-21 Preview: Three Lions have conceded just two goals in last six meetings with Tricolorii Mici

Stuart Pearce has had to contend with a number of injuries and players being involved with the senior side, but he is able to call upon the services of Raheem Sterling once again

By Ryan Benson

U21 European Championship Play Off, Serbia U21 v England U21, Nikola Ninkovic, Raheem Sterling
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  PROBABLE LINEUPS

ENGLAND UNDER-21s
England
Butland
Clyne, Dawson, Lees, Robinson 
Lowe
Sterling, Henderson, McEachran, Townsend
Delfouneso
ROMANIA UNDER-21s
Romania 
Buzbuchi
Nica, Cretu, Avramia, Peteleu
Stanciu, Benzar, Iancu, Carstocea
Gavra, Herghelegiu

For the 2013 Under-21 European Championship warm-up match against Romania on Thursday, Stuart Pearce looks set to be missing a number of players for various reasons.

Luke Shaw and Tom Ince are ruled out for the encounter, while Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Amos is also struggling with fitness problems.

Norwich City defender Ryan Bennett has remained in Norfolk, while Steven Caulker will be involved with Roy Hodgson's senior side.

Their Romanian counterpars generally have a full squad to choose, but a couple of players have been called up to the full national team.

Gheorghe Groazv and Alexandru Maxim both look poised to be involved in the matches against Hungary and Netherlands.

Claudiu Bumba of Roma, Cornel Rapa and Mihai Radut will miss out as well.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Romania and England have played each other seven times previously at Under-21 level, six of which were European Championship qualifiers.
  • England's only defeat to the Romanians came in 1980.
  • In the two team's last six meetings, England have conceded just two goals.
  • England's most recent tie against Romania was a play-off for the Euro 2011 finals, with Jordan Henderson scoring the all-important goal.
  • Stuart Pearce's side finished top of their group in qualifying for Euro 2013 before beating Serbia 2-0 on aggregate.
  • Romania on the other hand did not get past the group stage, coming in third behind France and Slovakia.

  • England's top scorer during qualification was defender Craig Dawson (pictured right) who scored five goals in nine appearances.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

England - Raheem Sterling

Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling enjoyed an impressive first half to the current season, forcing his way into Brendan Rodgers' starting XI and eventually earning his first call-up to the England national team.

However, in recent weeks the teenager has struggled for minutes due to the resurgence of Stewart Downing, but he still possesses immense quality and Romania will have a hard time keeping him quiet.


Romania - Nicolae Stanciu

Regarded as one of Romania's most promising young players, the Vaslui winger is already the team's captain at the age of 19 and looks set to have a long career for his nation.

In attack, the Unirea Alba Iulia youth product is most adept at creating chances for others and has impressive ability on the ball. If England prevent possession getting through to Stanciu, they will absolutely improve their chances of winning.


PREDICTION

With this match representing a warm-up of sorts for England's summer campaign, one would expect plenty of chopping and changing from Pearce, therefore potential unfamiliarity may result in a less convincing home win.

England 2-1 Romania



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