On Monday, England Under-17 coach John Peacock confirmed his final party for May’s European Under-17 Championships in Germany. It included three of the prospect list, in Jose Baxter of Everton, Tottenham’s John Bostock, and Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere.
The inclusion of the trio makes the Three Lions squad a formidable one and one which should stand a chance of competing for the trophy they finished runners-up for two years ago. It is the inclusion of Wilshere which may be the key, as the Arsenal winger has trained with their first team squad all season and alongside Charlton’s Jonjo Shelvey, has the most senior experience in the squad. He has more recently played up at Under-19 level, but with their finals not until July, Peacock has been able to call upon a player who will add a new level of creativity and guile to the midfield and really turn England’s chances up.
Jose Baxter has been on the fringes of the Everton squad all season, making his professional debut, but has been key for England at Under-16 level last season and has continued that form at the next age group up this year. He will be able to play on the wide left or in a striking role, but the inclusion of a number of natural strikers leads you to believe he’ll most likely play in the wider role, with Wilshere probably on the other side, cutting inside onto his left foot. In the middle of the park you’re likely to find John Bostock, one of the most accomplished midfielders of his age, and one who will look to get forward and impact on every game he plays.
England have been drawn in Group B with Holland, Germany and Turkey. A tough group is no easier in the potential Semi Finals as Group A features holders Spain, Italy, France, and Switzerland. The tournament kicks off on May 6th and the competition is covered live by Eurosport, with their schedule found here. Despite the tournament not featuring many of the players in this list, a full preview and coverage of the event will be found on this blog, as well as detailed updates on the three players covered in this piece.