Afobe, Bamford, Dier and Woodrow axed form England Under-21 squad


England Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate has named his final 23-man squad ahead of this month’s European Championships in the Czech Republic, with talented quartet Benik Afobe, Patrick Bamford, Eric Dier and Cauley Woodrow being left out, having been initially selected in the provisional roster.

Wolves sharpshooter Afobe is a surprising absence in the squad set to travel to this prestigious competition, having been in clinical club form recently. The 22-year-old has struck an incredible 32 goals in all competitions this past season, having featured for MK Dons before the Winter period, eventually returning to Wolves in January.

Chelsea’s exciting prospect Bamford was in similarly deadly form with Middlesbrough on loan in the Championship this term, with his 19 strikes helping the North East outfit reach the Championship play-off final. However, evidently in his final outing, the menacing marksman picked up a troublesome injury in recent weeks which has hampered his form, something Southgate obviously has taken into mind when naming his squad.

Tottenham defender Dier has previously shunned Under-21 level of international competition to focus on forcing his way into Roy Hodgson’s set-up, with the centre back believing his rear guard attributes are enough to warrant a place in the senior Three Lions outfit. The 21-year-old Sporting Lisbon youth academy product’s past refusal to feature at Under-21 level has clearly had an effect on Southgate’s squad selections, with the Spurs centre back missing out on a spot.

Meanwhile, the call-up to a major Under-21 international tournament may have come too soon for Fulham’s highly-regarded Woodrow, with the promising forward missing out, despite featuring under Southgate last year. The 20-year-old is sure to be involved further at another time, having also represented his country at Under-17 level, but this summer’s event is potentially too big a step at such a young age.

Full 23-man England Under-21 squad

Goalkeepers: Marcus Bettinelli (Fulham), Jonathan Bond (Watford), Jack Butland (Stoke City)

Defenders: Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Luke Garbutt (Everton), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Carl Jenkinson (Arsenal, on loan at West Ham United), Michael Keane (Burnley), Liam Moore (Leicester City), John Stones (Everton), Matt Targett (Southampton)

Midfielders: Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Will Hughes (Derby County), Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards: Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Danny Ings (Burnley),

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