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England national under-21 football team

England Under-21
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) The Young Lions
Association The Football Association
Head coach Gareth Southgate[1]
Most caps James Milner (46)
Top scorer Alan Shearer &
Francis Jeffers (13)
First international
England U-21 0–0 Wales U-21
(Molineux, Wolverhampton; 15 December 1976)
Biggest win
England U-21 9–0 San Marino U-21
(New Meadow, Shrewsbury; 19 November 2013)
Biggest defeat
Romania U-21 4–0 England U-21
(Ploieşti, Romania; 14 October 1980)
England U-21 0–4 Spain U-21
(St Andrews, Birmingham; 27 February 2001)
Germany U-21 4–0 England U-21
(Malmö New Stadium, Malmö; 29 June 2009)
UEFA U-21 Championship
Appearances 13 (First in 1978)
Best result Winners 1982, 1984

England's national Under-21 football team, also known as England Under-21s or England U21(s), is considered to be the feeder team for the England national football team.

This team is for English players aged under 21 at the start of the calendar year in which a two-year European Under-21 Football Championship campaign begins, so some players can remain with the squad until the age of 23. As long as they are eligible, players can play for England at any level, making it possible to play for the U21s, senior side, and again for the U21s, as Jack Butland, Harry Kane and John Stones have done recently. It is also possible to play for one country at youth level and another at senior level (providing the player is eligible).

The U-21 team came into existence, following the realignment of UEFA's youth competitions, in 1976. A goalless draw in a friendly against Wales at Wolves' Molineux Stadium was England U21s' first result.

England U21s do not have a permanent home. They play in stadia dotted all around England, in an attempt to encourage younger fans in all areas of the country to get behind England. Because of the lower demand compared to the senior national team, smaller grounds can be used. The record attendance for an England U21 match was set on 24 March 2007, when England U21 played Italy U21 in front of a crowd of just under 60,000 at the brand new Wembley Stadium, also a world record attendance for a U21 game.[2] The match was one of the required two "ramp up" events the stadium hosted in order to gain its safety certificate in time for its full-capacity opening for the 2007 FA Cup Final in May.[3][4]


  • Coaching staff 1
    • Head coach 1.1
    • Other staff 1.2
  • Competition History 2
  • Results and fixtures 3
    • 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship 3.1
      • Qualification 3.1.1
        • Group stage
    • Other fixtures 3.2
      • Friendly matches 3.2.1
  • Players 4
    • Leading appearances 4.1
    • Leading goalscorers 4.2
    • Current squad 4.3
    • Recent call ups 4.4
    • Past squads 4.5
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Coaching staff

Head coach

Tenure Head Coach/Manager
1977–1990 Dave Sexton
1990–1993 Lawrie McMenemy
1994–1996 Dave Sexton
1996–1999 Peter Taylor
1999 Peter Reid
1999–2001 Howard Wilkinson
2001–2004 David Platt
2004–2007 Peter Taylor
2007–2013 Stuart Pearce
2013– Gareth Southgate

The original and most successful coach is Dave Sexton, who led the U21s from 1977 to 1990. In this period he combined his duties with managing the top-flight clubs Manchester United (1977–1981) and Coventry City (1981–1983). After Coventry he took a position within the FA as their first Technical Director, at Lilleshall. He handed over U21 responsibilities to England manager Graham Taylor's assistant Lawrie McMenemy for three years before resuming control from 1994 to 1996.

Peter Taylor took over in 1996 and, although never winning the tournament, his teams had an excellent record. He was controversially removed from the position in early 1999, however, and replaced initially by Peter Reid, who resigned after just one match in charge to dedicate more time to his other job as manager of Sunderland. Howard Wilkinson took over afterwards, yet could only produce four wins in ten competitive matches and quit after a year and a half in charge. David Platt took charge upon his departure from Nottingham Forest. Platt was U21 boss from 2001 to 2004, but had little success before Taylor's return. Taylor left in January 2007, as the senior national manager Steve McClaren wanted the U21s to have a full-time manager. Taylor, at the time, was combining his duties with his role as Crystal Palace boss.

On 1 February 2007, Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce was appointed as head coach on a part-time basis until after the European Championships in the summer of 2007. Nigel Pearson, Newcastle United's assistant manager, agreed to become Pearce's assistant. Their first match in charge was a 2–2 draw against Spain on 6 February 2007 at Derby County's Pride Park Stadium. For the match against Italy Nigel Pearson took charge as Stuart Pearce had club commitments. Steve Wigley assisted Pearson.

Pearce was dismissed as Manchester City manager on 14 May 2007, before the 2007 European Championships, but on 19 July 2007 he was named full-time U21s coach.[5] He remained in the post until June 2013, when it was announced that his contract would not be renewed.[6] On 31 July, the FA announced that England senior manager Roy Hodgson would take charge of an England U21 friendly match against Scotland at Bramall Lane,[7] the match ended in a 6–0 win for Hodgson's side.[8] Former England international Gareth Southgate was made manager of the under-21 team on 22 August.[9]

Other staff

Coaches Steve Holland[10]
Brian Eastick
Goalkeeping Coach Martin Thomas[11]
Physiotherapists Dave Galley[12]
Derek Wright[12]
Doctor Dr. Richard Higgins[13]
Masseur Stewart Welsh
Exercise Scientist Craig Boyd
Performance Analyst Keith Mincher
Video Analyst Mike Baker
Kit Manager Neil Jones

Competition History

As a European U21 team, England compete for the European Championship, with the finals every odd-numbered year, formerly even-numbered years. There is no Under-21 World Cup, although there is an Under-20 World Cup. For the first six (1978–1988) European Under-21 Football Championships, England did well, getting knocked out in the semi-finals on four occasions and winning the competition in 1982 and 1984. Then, as one might expect with a rapid turnover of players, followed a lean period.

After losing to France in the 1988 semi final, England then failed to qualify for the last eight for five whole campaigns. In the qualifying stages for the 1998 tournament, England won their group, but fate was not on their side. Because there were nine groups, and only eight places, the two group-winning nations with worst records had to play-off to eliminate one of them. England lost the away leg of this extra qualifying round and were eliminated on away goals to Greece. In effect, England finished ninth in the competition despite losing only one of their ten matches.

England qualified for the 2000 finals comfortably. Under the 1996-appointed Peter Taylor England won every match without conceding a goal. But with 3 matches to play, Taylor was replaced in a controversial manner by Howard Wilkinson, who won the next two matches. The three goals conceded in the 3–1 defeat to group runners-up Poland were the only blemish on the team's qualifying record. England got knocked out in the group stage of the European Championship finals in 2000 under Wilkinson.

After enlisting former international star David Platt as manager, England qualified for the 2002 tournament in Switzerland. Again England did poorly in the group stage. Platt's England failed to qualify for the 2004 tournament and he was replaced by the returning Peter Taylor. Taylor's England qualified from the group but lost to a strong France team in a two-legged playoff and failed to qualify for the 2006 tournament.

The next campaign started shortly after the 2006 finals – the qualification stage of the 2007 competition. UEFA decided to shift the tournament forward to avoid a clash with senior tournaments taking place in even-numbered years. The qualification stage was heavily reduced, being completed in a year's less time. In a 3-team qualification group, England qualified over Switzerland and Moldova, and then won a two-legged play-off with Germany to qualify for the finals to be held in the Netherlands. At the tournament, England progressed through to the semi-finals where they led for the majority of the match against the hosts. However, after a late equaliser and a marathon penalty shootout, England were eliminated.

In 2009, England finished as runners-up, losing 4–0 to Germany in the final.

England finished second in their qualifying group for the 2011 championships in Denmark. They subsequently defeated Romania in the play-offs to qualify for the finals tournament, where they were knocked out in the group stage after a 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic. England also subsequently exited the 2013 and 2015 Finals tournaments at the group stage.

Year Progress
1978 Semi Final
1980 Semi Final
1982 Champions
1984 Champions
1986 Semi Final
1988 Semi Final
1990 Failed to qualify
2000 Group Stage
2002 Group Stage
2004 Failed to qualify
2007 Semi Final
2009 Final
2011 Group Stage
2013 Group Stage
2015 Group Stage

Note: The year of the tournament represents the year in which it ends.

Results and fixtures

2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship


Group stage
Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Qualification
1  Norway 4 2 1 1 5 3 +2 7 Final tournament 7 Oct '16 0–1 2–1 2–0
2   Switzerland 3 2 1 0 5 2 +3 7 Possible Play-offs 1–1 26 Mar '16 2 Sep '16 3–1
3  England 2 2 0 0 4 0 +4 6 6 Sep '16 16 Nov '15 3–0 11 Oct '16
4  Kazakhstan 4 1 0 3 3 7 −4 3 11 Oct '16 0–1 6 Oct '16 25 Mar '16
5  Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 0 0 3 2 7 −5 0 2 Sep '16 6 Sep '16 12 Nov '15 1–2
Updated to match(es) played on 13 October 2015. Source: UEFA

Other fixtures

Friendly matches


Leading appearances

Rank Player Club(s) U-21 Caps
1 James Milner Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa 46
2 Tom Huddlestone Derby County, Tottenham Hotspur 33
Fabrice Muamba Birmingham City, Bolton Wanderers 33
4 Michael Mancienne Chelsea, Hamburg 30
5 Scott Carson Leeds United, Liverpool 29
Steven Taylor Newcastle United 29
Danny Rose Tottenham Hotspur 29
8 Jack Butland Birmingham City, Stoke City 28
9 Jamie Carragher Liverpool 27
Gareth Barry Aston Villa 27
Jordan Henderson Sunderland, Liverpool 27

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-21s. Those players in bold are still eligible to play for the team at the moment.

Leading goalscorers

Rank Player Club(s) U-21 Goals
1 Alan Shearer Southampton 13
Francis Jeffers Everton, Arsenal 13
3 Saido Berahino West Bromwich Albion 10
4 Darren Bent Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic 9
Frank Lampard West Ham United 9
James Milner Leeds United, Newcastle United, Aston Villa 9
7 Harry Kane Tottenham Hotspur 8
Mark Hateley Coventry City, Portsmouth 8
Carl Cort Wimbledon 8
10 Mark Robins Manchester United 7
Shola Ameobi Newcastle United 7
Jermain Defoe West Ham United 7
Nathan Redmond Birmingham City, Norwich City 7

Note: Club(s) represents the permanent clubs during the player's time in the Under-21s. Those players in bold are still eligible to play for the team at the moment.

Current squad

Players born on or after 1 January 1994 are eligible until the end of the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship. Names in italics denote players who have been capped for the senior team.

The following players were named in the squad for the match against Kazakhstan in October 2015.[14][15]

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1GK Jordan Pickford (1994-03-07) 7 March 1994 3 0 Preston North End (on loan from Sunderland)
1GK Christian Walton (1995-11-09) 9 November 1995 0 0 Bury (on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion)
1GK Joe Wildsmith (1995-12-28) 28 December 1995 0 0 Sheffield Wednesday
2DF Eric Dier (1994-01-15) 15 January 1994 9 0 Tottenham Hotspur
2DF Calum Chambers (1995-01-20) 20 January 1995 6 0 Arsenal
2DF Matt Targett (1995-09-08) 8 September 1995 4 0 Southampton
2DF Joe Gomez (1997-05-23) 23 May 1997 3 0 Liverpool
2DF Dominic Iorfa (1995-06-24) 24 June 1995 2 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
2DF Jack Stephens (1994-01-27) 27 January 1994 1 0 Middlesbrough (on loan from Southampton)
2DF Kortney Hause (1995-07-16) 16 July 1995 1 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
2DF Brendan Galloway (1996-03-17) 17 March 1996 0 0 Everton
3MF Nathaniel Chalobah (1994-12-12) 12 December 1994 24 0 Napoli (on loan from Chelsea)
3MF James Ward-Prowse (1994-11-01) 1 November 1994 16 4 Southampton
3MF Jake Forster-Caskey (1994-04-25) 25 April 1994 12 0 Brighton & Hove Albion
3MF Ruben Loftus-Cheek (1996-01-23) 23 January 1996 6 1 Chelsea
3MF Lewis Baker (1995-04-25) 25 April 1995 1 0 Vitesse (on loan from Chelsea)
4FW Nathan Redmond (1994-03-06) 6 March 1994 25 7 Norwich City
4FW Cauley Woodrow (1994-12-02) 2 December 1994 3 0 Fulham
4FW Jordon Ibe (1995-12-08) 8 December 1995 3 0 Liverpool
4FW Duncan Watmore (1994-03-08) 8 March 1994 2 0 Sunderland
4FW Solomon March (1994-07-20) 20 July 1994 1 0 Brighton & Hove Albion
4FW Chuba Akpom (1995-10-09) 9 October 1995 1 1 Hull City (on loan from Arsenal)
4FW James Wilson (1995-12-01) 1 December 1995 1 1 Manchester United

Recent call ups

The following players have also been called up to the England under-21 squad and remain eligible:

Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club Latest call-up
GK Angus Gunn (1996-01-22) 22 January 1996 [16] 1 0 Manchester City v.  Kazakhstan, 13 October 2015*[14][17]
DF John Stones (1994-05-28) 28 May 1994 12 0 Everton 2015 European Championship, 17–30 June 2015
DF Luke Shaw (1995-07-12) 12 July 1995 5 0 Manchester United v.  Croatia, 10/14 October 2014
DF Tyler Blackett (1994-04-02) 2 April 1994 1 0 Celtic (on loan from Manchester United) v.  Lithuania/ Moldova, 5/9 September 2014
MF Dele Alli (1996-04-11) 11 April 1996 2 0 Tottenham Hotspur v.  United States/ Norway, 3/7 September 2015
MF Will Hughes (1995-04-07) 7 April 1995 17 2 Derby County 2015 European Championship, 17–30 June 2015
FW Raheem Sterling (1994-12-08) 8 December 1994 8 3 Manchester City v.  Finland/ San Marino, 14/19 November 2013
FW Nick Powell (1994-03-23) 23 March 1994 2 0 Manchester United v.  Finland/ San Marino, 14/19 November 2013

*Player withdrew from the squad before any games had been played.

Past squads


  1. ^ "Southgate named England Under-21 boss". BBC. 22 August 2013. 
  2. ^ BBC News – Wembley opener attracts thousands
  3. ^ BBC News – Wembley game 'sold out' in hours
  4. ^ The Guardian – Early set-back on Wembley's big day
  5. ^ "Pearce named England U21 manager". BBC Sport. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 17 July 2007. 
  6. ^ "Stuart Pearce: England Under-21 boss to leave role". BBC Sport. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 18 June 2013. 
  7. ^ "Roy Hodgson and Ray Lewington to manage England Under-21s against Scotland". Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "England Under-21s thrash Scotland 6-0 in friendly". BBC News. 13 August 2013. 
  9. ^ "Gareth Southgate named England Under-21 boss". BBC News. 22 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Holland to stay with U21s". The Football Association. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  11. ^ "Martin Thomas". The Football Association. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Derek's Euro Role". Newcastle United. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "First team support staff". Sheffield Wednesday. Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  14. ^ a b "England U21s squad named for Kazakhstan clash in Coventry". The Football Association. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  15. ^ "Joe Wildsmith joins up with England Under-21s squad". The Football Association. Retrieved 12 October 2015. 
  16. ^ "Angus Gunn". Manchester City FC. Retrieved 25 August 2015. 
  17. ^ "Angus Gunn withdraws from England Under-21s squad". The Football Association. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 

External links

  • Official FA England Under-21 website Contains listings of current England U-21 players.
  • Uefa Under-21 website Contains full results archive
  • The Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation Contains full record of U-21 Championship hosts and additional statistics, such as the Group Winners table for the 1998 qualifiers.
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