Uefa U21 Euros: Emile Smith Rowe named in England squad for first time

Emile Smith Rowe
Emile Smith Rowe has four assists in 15 appearances in the Premier League

Mason Greenwood, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Emile Smith Rowe have been named in a strong England squad for next week's Uefa U21 Euro finals group stage.

Aidy Boothroyd's team face Croatia, Portugal and Switzerland in Group D, with only two of the four progressing to this summer's knockout tournament.

Arsenal's in-form attacker Smith Rowe is in the squad for the first time.

PSV Eindhoven midfielder Noni Madueke and West Brom goalkeeper Josh Griffiths are also new to the set-up.

United striker Greenwood and Chelsea midfielder Hudson-Odoi are two of a handful of established Premier League players in the squad, with Everton duo Ben Godfrey and Tom Davies, Crystal Palace's Eberechi Eze, Burnley's Dwight McNeil and Sheffield United pair Rhian Brewster and Aaron Ramsdale also among the pack.

"I'm excited by this group - not just in their ability but also their togetherness and team spirit - and I know they will do everything they can to make the country proud," said manager Boothroyd.

This is 19-year-old Greenwood's first call-up to an England squad since he was sent home from the seniors last September having breached coronavirus regulations with Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden,

"In Mason's situation, it was right that he wasn't to play for his country and to stay where he was," said Boothroyd.

"That period of time has done him the world of good. He's getting more minutes there [Manchester United]. That's a positive thing. We hope he can continue that with us.

"He's got a lot of support around him from his club and from us. [England coach] Gareth Southgate is speaking regularly to [United boss] Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in this case and we think he's a top player. Has he got something to prove?"

Boothroyd was unable to select Bayern Munich midfielder Jamal Musiala after the 18-year-old pledged his allegiance to Germany. The teenager had played twice for the England Under-21s and scored on his full debut against Albania in November.

"When you're working in Germany, speak German and you live with your German mum... It's very difficult to persuade him that he's actually English," said Boothroyd.

This year's competition sees the group stage and knockout stage held separately.

The opening stage involves 16 nations competing between 24 and 31 March with the four group winners and four runners-up qualifying for the knockout phase, which will be jointly hosted by Hungary and Slovenia from 31 May to 6 June.

England's Group D fixtures:

Thursday, 25 March, v Switzerland, Koper, 14:00 GMT

Sunday, 28 March, v Portugal, Ljubljana, 20:00 BST

Wednesday, 31 March, v Croatia, Koper, 17:00 BST

England U21 squad

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), Ben Wilmot (Watford)

Midfielders: 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)

Attackers: Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), Mason Greenwood (Manchester United), Callum Hudson-Odoi (Chelsea), Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Eddie Nketiah (Arsenal), Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal)

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