Gareth challenges U21 squad

Gareth Southgate is hoping to get his England Under-21s squad back into the “values and principles” that have served them so well, as they prepare for their final two European Championship qualifiers.

Southgate’s side have already secured their place in October’s Euro play-off after topping their group table, and they bring the first stage of qualification to an end with trips to Lithuania and Moldova in early September.

And the head coach has selected a 21-man squad for the double-header, with thoughts of the crucial play-off games in his mind.

England U20s boss Gareth Southgate instructs his team against Portugal.

Southgate has guided England Under-21s to the Euro play-offs

He told TheFA.com: “It’s an opportunity for us to re-establish our values and our principles in two games where we have to hit a consistency of performance.

“We need to go into October in the right frame of mind and these games give us a chance to do that and get the players back into the habit of doing the right things.”

This squad contains many of the players who have helped the Under-21s into their current position in the group, along with a sprinkling of players who caught Southgate’s eye during this summer’s Toulon Tournament in France.

He has also called Manchester United defender Tyler Blackett and Brentford’s on-loan Spurs winger Alex Pritchard into his squad for the first time.

And with a limited number of places in his squad, Southgate has challenged all of those involved to stake their claim both in training and in the games.

He added: “Because of the competition for places and because of the nature of this group and the experience that they had in the summer in particular, they know we’ve been good up to now but there’s still a bit to do.

“If we want to be the very best, we’ve got to take on board the sort of standard that we saw in the summer at the World Cup and when the players are with us or back at their clubs, they’ve got to strive for that.

“We want elite performance, and that’s commitment in all areas if they want to go on and win things with the seniors.

“The boys who went to Toulon had both of those things.”

The Squad

Goalkeepers
Jonathan Bond (Watford), Jack Butland (Stoke City).

Defenders
Tyler Blackett (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Garbutt (Everton), Michael Keane (Manchester United), Jamaal Lascelles (Newcastle United, on loan to Nottingham Forest), Liam Moore (Leicester City), Jack Robinson (Liverpool)

Midfielders
Tom Carroll (Tottenham Hotspur, on loan to Swansea City), Nathaniel Chalobah (Chelsea), Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton & Hove Albion), Will Hughes (Derby County), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton)

Forwards
Saido Berahino (West Bromwich Albion), Tom Ince (Hull City), Danny Ings (Burnley), Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Alex Pritchard (Tottenham Hotspur, on loan at Brentford), Nathan Redmond (Norwich City), Cauley Woodrow (Fulham).