Burnley winger Dwight McNeil in England Under 21 squad for Euros

Burnley winger Dwight McNeil has been named in the England squad for the group stages of the UEFA Under 21 Championship.

Monday, 15th March 2021, 10:57 am
Updated Monday, 15th March 2021, 11:04 am
Dwight McNeil

The delayed tournament is being held in Slovenia over this international break, with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final held in Hungary and Slovenia at the end of May and beginning of June.

Aidy Boothroyd's side are in Group D and face Switzerland on Thursday, March 25th (2 p.m.) at the Bonifika Stadium in Koper, before taking on Portugal on Sunday, March 28th (8 p.m.) at Stožice Sports Park in Ljubljana.

They conclude their group games on Wednesday, March 31st (5 p.m.) against Croatia, again at the Bonifika Stadium, with the top two teams advancing through to the final stages.

McNeil has 21 caps for the Under 21s since making his debut against Slovenia in Maribor in October 2019 in a 2-2 draw.

Among the 23 players included are two players with senior-team experience in Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Greenwood, while Eddie Nketiah, who holds the England U21 scoring record with 16 goals in 14 matches, is another notable name.

Lloyd Kelly and Ryan Sessegnon are the only survivors from the 2019 finals, with Sessegnon joined in the squad by twin brother Steven.

Josh Griffiths, Emile Smith Rowe and Noni Madueke have earned their first call-ups, while uncapped Japhet Tanganga is also selected.

Boothroyd said: “I am excited by this group - not just in their ability but also their togetherness and team spirit - and know they will do everything they can to make the country proud. I am grateful to Gareth for his support with what we are trying to achieve, and also to the clubs for recognising the importance of these finals.

“We want to win every time we play and will do all we can to reach the knockout stage – but this is also a crucial opportunity for providing valuable experience on and off the pitch that will help the players, their clubs and England in future.”

The Young Lions will ultimately be aiming to become the first England side to lift the trophy in 37 years. Although England are appearing in an eighth successive U21 finals, they have only made it out of the group stage on three occasions in that run.

Boothroyd added: “History tells us that this competition is about as competitive as it gets and we know we will have to be at our best. Because we are in the middle of the domestic season, everyone will have to hit the ground running as soon as they come together but we are ready for the challenge. We can’t wait to get started.”

A decision has been made that all matches will be played behind closed doors, but UEFA have yet to confirm whether the knockout phase will be open to fans.

All England matches will be televised by Sky Sports.

The squad is: Goalkeepers: Josef Bursik (Stoke City), Josh Griffiths (Cheltenham Town, on loan from West Bromwich Albion), Aaron Ramsdale (Sheffield United; Defenders: Max Aarons (Norwich City), Ben Godfrey (Everton), Marc Guehi )Swansea City, on loan from Chelsea), Lloyd Kelly (AFC Bournemouth), Ryan Sessegnon (Hoffenheim, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur), Steven Sessegnon (Bristol City, on loan from Fulham), Japhet Tanganga (Tottenham Hotspur); Midfielders: Ben Wilmot (Watford), Tom Davies (Everton), Eberechi Eze (Crystal Palace), Conor Gallagher (West Bromwich Albion, on loan from Chelsea), Curtis Jones (Liverpool), Dwight McNeil (Burnley), Oliver Skipp (Norwich City, on loan from Tottenham Hotspur); Forwards: Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal).