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Southgate inspires under-21 team with Isco and Verratti

Gareth Southgate has shown the England Under-21s squad clips of players such as Marco Verratti and Isco to whet their appetite ahead of this summer's European Championship.

Southgate is expecting big things from his young England stars. Credit: PA

The Young Lions head to the Czech Republic in June looking to continue the fine form which saw them progress to the finals unbeaten.

Friendly wins against the hosts and Germany last month only bolstered confidence which Southgate attempted to harness by showing them a montage of stars from the previous edition.

David de Gea, Alvaro Morata, Isco and Thiago Alcantara were part of the triumphant Spanish side in Israel two years ago, when Verratti, Fabio Borini and Lewis Holtby were amongst the stars.

We put a montage on for the players from the last tournament for the players.

You've got people like Verratti and Isco, who really came to prominence in Israel even though they were already well known before the tournament.

So that's the level we're playing at and I don't think any of our guys are bigger than those two in terms of where they are at this moment in time.

– England under-21 manager Gareth Southgate


England fans sing anti-IRA songs in Italy

England fans sang anti-IRA songs during Tuesday's friendly in Italy despite efforts from the Football Association to stamp the chants out in the wake of last year's match in Scotland.

A view of the England fans in Turin on Tuesday night.

England fans caused controversy last November when they chanted "F*** the IRA" during the 3-1 victory at Celtic Park.

Even though the FA liaised with fan groups after the Scotland game to try to prevent such chants happening again, they were heard during England's 1-1 draw at the Juventus Stadium in Turin on Tuesday.

Any repeat during England's next match against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin on June 7 would lead to yet more criticism.

After the win in Scotland, the FA made it clear it was unhappy about the chants.

We apologise for any offence caused by a section of the England support at the match with Scotland. The FA does not condone inappropriate and offensive chanting and intends to meet with supporters' groups to discuss the wider issues.

We have consistently urged supporters to show respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others - particularly from a religious or political perspective.

– FA spokesman after the match in Glasgow


Liverpool striker withdraws from England squad

Daniel Sturridge is out. Credit: PA

Daniel Sturridge has joined Liverpool team-mate Adam Lallana in withdrawing from the England squad through injury.

The Football Association announced late on Monday that Sturridge had returned to his club after scans on an injury sustained in Sunday's 2-1 defeat to Manchester United.

Earlier on Monday, Roy Hodgson called up Tottenham midfielder Ryan Mason for the first time to replace Lallana, who suffered a groin injury in the loss to United.

Pele believes more English players should go abroad

Pele believes England are counting the cost of their player pool being concentrated in the Premier League rather than cast across the world.

Does Pele have a point? Credit: Reuters

While Pele's native Brazil can call on players from most corners of the globe, elite English footballers are habitually stay-at-home professionals, with few exceptions in recent years.

It means England boss Roy Hodgson picks his side from players who have limited experience of overseas conditions, whether in terms of playing styles, climatic conditions or cultures.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Pele said:

The team is good. But to talk about the England team - it is very difficult you see when the England team plays outside (England).

The players who play in England, they don't have experience of playing abroad. There is not a player who used to play in Japan, or play in Africa, or play in South America.

I think this is one of the reasons when you have the big competition, the players they have a problem. I think this could be one of the problems.

– Brazil legend Pele

England face Lithuania in Euro 2016 qualifying at Wembley on Friday, before tackling Italy four days later in a Turin friendly. Both games are live on ITV.

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