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Saints youngsters set for England duty
Luke Shaw’s horror run of luck with the England Under-21s could finally end tonight, with the left-back preparing to make his debut alongside fellow Saints ace James Ward-Prowse.
The two 18-year-olds have been selected in new manager Gareth Southgate’s squad for the Euro 2015 qualifier at home to Moldova (7.45pm), as well as next Monday’s trip to Finland.
And a third young Saint, Calum Chambers, is in the England under-19 squad for this evening’s friendly in Estonia (5.45pm).
For Shaw, it is the fifth time he has been called-up to the under-21s.
On the previous four occasions, however, he has been forced to withdraw through injury.
Barring any late misfortune, the left-back could finally make his bow for the side tonight, at Reading’s Madejski Stadium.
Shaw has joined up with the squad despite Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino revealing that he would have preferred the youngster to remain at St Mary’s.
Shaw was an unused substitute in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Norwich, having missed training in the early part of the week, following a knock he picked up in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland in Saints’ previous match.
“I would prefer for him to actually stay with us, to work with us and train with us, but we’ll see what the decision is,” Pochettino had said.
Shaw, though, was fit enough to join up with England and has been with them at St George’s Park this week.
Ward-Prowse’s first call-up has capped a marvellous beginning to the season for the teenager.
He has started all three of Saints’ opening Premier League matches and has won plenty of plaudits for his performances.
Ward-Prowse was part of the England team that competed in the Under-20 World Cup during the summer and he has now been quickly moved up an age group.
Along with Shaw, he will be hoping to help the under-21s banish some of the memories that have lingered since their dismal performance in this year’s European Championship, when England failed to win a game and were knocked out in the group stage.
Tonight’s fixture marks a new beginning in numerous ways, with it being the side’s first qualifying match for the 2015 tournament and Southgate’s opening game in charge, as he replaces Stuart Pearce at the helm.
Shaw and Ward-Prowse aren’t the only Saints youngsters in action for England today, though.
Fellow 18-year-old Calum Chambers, who has started all three of the club’s Premier League matches this term, is in the under-19 squad for this evening’s friendly, away to Estonia (kick-off 5.45pm).
Tomorrow will see another young Saints player featuring for his country, as Lloyd Isgrove, 20, lines up for the Wales Under-21 team in their Euro qualifier away to San Marino.
Two of Saints’ academy players were on international duty earlier in the week, with left-back Matt Targett playing the full game for the Scotland Under-19s in their 1-1 friendly draw at home to Iceland, while striker Sam Gallagher played the final 15 minutes.
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