As predicted, Stuart Pearce has released the official England U21 squad today. In it are some fashionable new names and some old heads. A surprise or two as well...
England Football Blog put together a Potential England U21 Squad for 2011-2012 earlier this week, and out of that list, we're pleased to see many of the touted names either receive a promotion from the England U20s or get their first call-up at this level due to fast-tracked development (Ross Barkley).
What we weren't prepared for was the surprise inclusion of Emmanuel Frimpong, who has repeatedly stated his desire and intention to play for Ghana. Even going as far to say, just this past February, “I have always told my family that if Ghana calls me, I will personally ride my own bicycle from England to Ghana”.
So, makes perfect sense to waste a spot on him for the England U21s then doesn't it?
Ghana and Udinese Emmanuel Agyemang Badu spoke to Frimpong on August 16, who said:
“I spoke with him (Frimpong) after the game and he is very determined to play for Ghana. He has great qualities and with time he will be a shining star for his side and hopefully for Ghana in the future."
This was predicated by an earlier interview on August 3 with KickOff.com:
’Hopefully when the right comes I will play for Ghana but at the moment I need to play for Arsenal. This season is about to start so we are going to see what happens. Ghana is there for me so when the opportunity comes I am going to come and play."
A glaring omission is that of Arsenal's Carl Jenkinson. The right back, who made his move across London this summer, was reported by The Independent as being interested in being tied down by England rather than Finland. Lest we forget, he has represented England at U17 level. Great news for Liverpool's Andre Wisdom, but preferred over Jenkinson? Not so sure.
As for the midfield selection - outside of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, there's no recognized wingers in this group. It's a slew of central midfielders. Assuming this will imply someone gets given the "Tom Cleverley" treatment (shunted out of position).
In the goal keeping department - hoping Butland gets his just desserts.
England U21 Squad, August 24
- Ben Amos (Manchester United)
- Jack Butland (Birmingham City)
- Declan Rudd (Norwich City)
- Nathan Baker (Aston Villa)
- Joe Bennett (Middlesbrough)
- Matthew Briggs (Fulham)
- Steven Caulker (Swansea City, loan from Tottenham)
- Craig Dawson (West Bromwich Albion)
- John Flanagan (Liverpool)
- Kyle Walker (Tottenham Hotspur)
- Andre Wisdom (Liverpool)
- Ross Barkley (Everton)
- Dan Gosling (Newcastle United)
- Jordan Henderson (Liverpool)
- Emmanuel Frimpong (Arsenal)
- Henri Lansbury (Arsenal)
- Josh McEachran (Chelsea)
- Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)
- Jack Rodwell (Everton)
- Jonjo Shelvey (Liverpool)
- Nathan Delfouneso (Aston Villa)
- Marvin Sordell (Watford)
- Martyn Waghorn (Leicester City)
- Connor Wickham (Sunderland)
- Emmanuel Frimpong
- Danny Welbeck
- Phil Jones (promoted to Seniors)
- Martin Kelly