Places at this summer’s Toulon Tournament, as well as the European under-21 Championships, will be at stake when England under-21’s host Ukraine at Bramall Lane next week.
Aidy Boothroyd, the Young Lions’ head coach, has described Tuesday’s match as a pivotal part of his team’s bid to reach the UEFA finals in Italy and San Marino next year.
But with England also outlining plans to defend the Toulon title they won last year, performances in South Yorkshire will be subject to particular scrutiny.
“It’s a brilliant tournament and a lot of very good players have been there,” Boothroyd, referring to Toulon, said. “We have plans and preparations in place for that tournament and going to Toulon will allow me to have a look at one or two of the players from the other groups.
“So we’ll make sure we have a good look at our group in March and then we’ll look forward to Toulon in May.”
However, with the Young Lions top of their qualifying group for the Euros, repeating Octover’s 2-0 victory over Oleksandr Holovko’s side is Boothroy’d immediate priority. Tickets for the match, which kicks-off at 6pm, are priced £10 and £5.
“It’s been a good start to our new Euro campaign,” Boothroyd, who has named Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke and former United striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin in his squad, continued. “We’ve got 13 points from the five games, a five-point lead at the top of our group and after analysing all of those games from different areas, we still think we could be better, so that’s a real positive. We’ll now be working hard to make sure we keep improving.”