Premier League - Smalling named in U21 squad

Mon, 14 Mar 18:07:00 2011

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has been named in a strong England U21 squad for friendlies with Denmark and Iceland.

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Smalling has played nine times for the U21s, but was touted as a possibility for Fabio Capello's senior squad to face Wales in a European Championship qualifier on March 26 and the friendly against Ghana at Wembley Stadium three days later.

He was included for England's friendly match with France at Wembley Stadium in November, but was an unused substitute as England lost the match 2-1.

There are also U21 call-ups for Kieran Gibbs of Arsenal, Micah Richards of Manchester City and Chelsea's Josh McEachran.

Celtic striker Gary Hooper is rewarded for his 13 goals in the Scottish Premier League with a first call-up after head coach Stuart Pearce attended the recent Old Firm match with Rangers in the Scottish Cup.

Wolves midfielder Mark Davies is also named for the first time.

England visit Viborg in Denmark on March 24 before hosting Iceland at Preston's Deepdale on March 28.

Pearce has named a 31-man squad as he assesses his options before the European U21 Championship in Denmark in June.

"There are one or two fresh faces in there such as Gary Hooper and Mark Davies but in the main the majority of the players are well known to us and have been involved in the qualifying for the tournament," Pearce told the FA's website.

“Now’s the time for all of the players to impress in the minds of the coaching staff that they want to be the ones stepping on to the plane. At the end of this meet-up I need to be able to make some final decisions about my squad – and I will.

“Both of the teams we’ll face will be in the Championship in June so there can be no better warm-up opportunity for us and there will be no underestimating anyone on our part, and I expect the opposition will be thinking much the same about us.”

England Under-21 squad

Goalkeepers

Frankie Fielding (Derby County - loan from Blackburn Rovers), Scott Loach (Watford), Alex Smithies (Huddersfield Town), Alex McCarthy (Reading)

Defenders

Nathan Baker (Aston Villa), Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough), Ryan Bertrand (Chelsea), Steven Caulker (Bristol City - loan from Tottenham), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Ben Mee (Leicester City - loan from Manchester City), Kyle Naughton (Leicester City - loan from Tottenham), Micah Richards (Manchester City), Chris Smalling (Manchester United), James Tomkins (West Ham United), Kyle Walker (Aston Villa - loan from Tottenham)

Midfielders

Marc Albrighton (Aston Villa), Jack Cork (Burnley - loan from Chelsea), Tom Cleverley (Wigan Athletic - loan from Man Utd), Mark Davies (Bolton Wanderers), Jordan Henderson (Sunderland), Henri Lansbury (Norwich City - loan from Arsenal), Josh McEachran (Chelsea), Fabrice Muamba (Bolton Wanderers), Jack Rodwell (Everton), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Scott Sinclair (Swansea City)

Forwards

Nathan Delfouneso (Burnley - loan from Aston Villa), Gary Hooper (Celtic), Daniel Sturridge (Bolton Wanderers - loan from Chelsea), Danny Welbeck (Sunderland - loan from Man Utd), Connor Wickham (Ipswich Town)

Eurosport

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