Duo To Start For England
Barkley and Garbutt in for Under-19 championship opener.
Ross Barkley and Luke Garbutt will start for England when they face Croatia in their opening game of the European Under-19 Championships this afternoon.
The duo have been confirmed in the line-up for the clash in Estonia, while Blues team-mates John Lundstram and Hallam Hope are named among the substitutes.
Manager Noel Blake spoke at a media conference ahead of the fixture and detailed the group’s activity since successfully negotiating the qualifying tournament in May.
"The players have had a little break which they needed and we've then had a training camp," he explained.
"That has gone okay. From a personal point of view, I've been very pleased with the way they've worked, in their technical preparation, their tactical preparation and also their physical preparation.
"At this moment in time, I'm quite pleased with the group and how they're shaping up."
With several England youth players having been promoted to the Under-21 and senior ranks in recent years, Blake believes his current crop have plenty to gain from the coming tournament.
He said: “This is what the system is there for, to help these boys get the international experience.
“You look at someone like Danny Welbeck – he played at international tournaments from the age of 16 all the way through. There is now just the World Cup finals for him to go with the seniors.
“The current great Spanish side - virtually all of them will have played international tournament football time after time as an age group and they have evolved, so there has to be something in that.”
Today's other game in England’s group will see Serbia take on France. England kick off at 3.30pm.