It’s going to be a lighter than normal summer in terms of international action, but it won’t be a completely barren two months devoid of all forms of football. Starting in a couple weeks, the FIFA Confederations Cup will be held in Russia as the usual World Cup warm-up and dress rehearsal, but as of right now, there will be no Chelsea players involved in that.
There will however be plenty of involvement in the biennial UEFA European U21 Championships (i.e. U21 Euros), with no less than three players picked by Aidy Boothroyd for the England squad looking to better 2015’s hilariously poor showing when the Three Lions finished bottom of their group winning just 1 of 3 games.
Nathaniel Chalobah, Lewis Baker, and Tammy Abraham will all look to play a key part, though Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a big miss, as is Izzy Brown. Loftus-Cheek has been struggling with a back injury that limited him towards the end of the season while Izzy Brown was called-up initially but after “assessment” at the training ground, was not picked for the final squad. It’s unclear if said assessment was physical or performance-based.
Either way, the final England U21 squad is as follows. Nice to see former Chelsea kid John Swift in there, too.
GOALKEEPERS: Angus Gunn (Manchester City), Jonathan Mitchell (Derby County), Jordan Pickford (Sunderland)
DEFENDERS: Calum Chambers (Arsenal), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Kortney Hause (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Rob Holding (Arsenal), Mason Holgate (Everton), Dominic Iorfa (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Alfie Mawson (Swansea City), Jack Stephens (Southampton), Matt Targett (Southampton).
MIDFIELDERS: Lewis Baker (Chelsea), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Will Hughes (Derby County), John Swift (Reading), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)
FORWARDS: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea), Demarai Gray (Leicester City), Jacob Murphy (Norwich City), Nathan Redmond (Southampton), Cauley Woodrow (Fulham)
It’s going to be another strong competition of course, with the likes of Spain, Italy, Portugal, Germany, and defending champions Sweden all there. France are a surprise absentee, especially by way of getting out-qualified by debutants Macedonia.
Meanwhile, former Chelsea youth prospect Dominic Solanke fired England U20 in the the semifinals of the U20 World Cup, scoring the solitary goal in a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Mexico. Liverpool’s (ugh) Solanke finished well from a tremendous pass by Bournemouth’s Lewis Cook.
Fikayo Tomori played the full game in central defense, partnering Boro’s Dael Fry who was preferred to Jake Clarke-Salter, as England played the final 20 minutes with just 10 men after Spurs’ Josh Onomah was sent off for an incredibly harsh second yellow.
England's Josh Onomah with one of the most stupid red card's you'll ever see.... pic.twitter.com/QSRoSrY9FQ— Matt Lynch (@mattlyynch) June 5, 2017
England will face Italy in Thursday’s semifinal, with the winner meeting the winner of Uruguay and Venezuela in Sunday’s final.