Football

Milner set for under-21 role

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Aston Villa midfielder James Milner has been named in the England Under-21 squad for next Tuesday's friendly against Ecuador in Malaga.

Milner, the England record holder for caps at under-21 level, was one of the players Fabio Capello has been looking at and was tipped for a call-up to the full squad.

The 23-year-old could still get the nod for the seniors clash the following day against Spain if there are injuries, but for now he is part of the under-21 squad.

Capello looked at Michael Mancienne for the friendly against Germany in November but the Chelsea defender is back in Stuart Pearce's squad for the trip to Spain.

Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck and Bolton midfielder Mark Davies are the uncapped players in Pearce's squad, while experienced members of the squad such as David Wheater, Joe Hart, Andrew Taylor and Mark Noble were not named in the 22-man group.

Micah Richards and Aaron Lennon, who both have experience with the seniors, were included as Pearce looks to prepare for this summer's European Championships in Sweden. Watford goalkeeper Scott Loach has been placed on standby.

Pearce said: "We are focused solely on building up to the championship in the summer. There are 30-odd players who have got every opportunity of being in the final 23 and a lot of the players need game time to prove to me that they deserve to be there.

"As we saw from the last championship, there are also players who come with a late run to get into the squad. In this squad we are having a look at Danny Welbeck who has done well in the under-19s and broken into the team at Old Trafford which is no mean feat.

"We've also brought in Mark Davies from Bolton. (Fabio Capello's number two) Franco Baldini saw him at the weekend and thought he was outstanding and he has played very well on loan at Leicester earlier in the season.

"Ecuador are going to bring a strong squad with a lot of senior experience. It will be a big learning curve for our players to face opposition from outside Europe and it will be great experience for them ahead of the summer."

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Topics:
Leicester City
Mark Davies
Internationals
Joe Hart
Watford
Football
Andrew Taylor
Aaron Lennon
James Milner
Bolton Wanderers
Chelsea
Danny Welbeck
Manchester United
Mark Noble
Stuart Pearce
Micah Richards
Scott Loach
David Wheater
Michael Mancienne
Aston Villa
Andrew Taylor
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