Sheffield United: Blades trio in the frame for England call

Conor Coady in action against Atromitos FC  � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
Conor Coady in action against Atromitos FC � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
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Sheffield United’s George Long, Conor Coady and Harry Maguire are all in contention for the England under-21 squad which entertains Scotland at Bramall Lane next month, writes James Shield.

The match, which could also be used to unveil Stuart Pearce’s successor as coach, takes place on August 13 and is part of the Young Lions’ preparations for the Euro 2015 qualifier against Moldova later this year.

Should any of the trio be selected, it would leave them in pole position to face Alexandru Curtianu’s side.

Senior international Kyle Walker, who started his career with the South Yorkshire club, predicted their inclusion could have a positive impact upon United’s performances throughout the forthcoming League One campaign. David Weir’s side host Notts County on Friday (kick-off 7.45pm).

“It’s vital experience for younger players,” Walker said. “It makes you grow up a lot quicker too.

“I went to Ukraine with the under-19’s for the Euro Finals in 2009 and just to play tournament football, be away from home for a longer period of time, was a massive learning curve for me.

“I didn’t play for England under-16’s or under-17’s as I was a centre-forward in those days which was very different to being a full-back.

“But I got my chance when I was playing full-back for the under-19’s, then the under-21’s and now the seniors.

“I just have to say a big thank-you to everyone who has helped me over the years at Sheffield United, Tottenham and even Aston Villa and QPR where I spent time on loan.

“They have all given me the chance to play club football when I could prove to myself and the England coaches that I could play on the international stage.”

Long and Coady, signed on loan from Liverpool, were both members of the squad which represented England at the FIFA under-20 World Cup finals earlier this summer.

Maguire made his under-21 debut against Northern Ireland last year.

England under-21’s v Scotland under-21’s has been labelled a ‘Kick it Out’ international.

Tickets are priced £10 adults, £5 concessions and £20 for a family of four. (T&Cs apply). For details, telephone 0871 995 1889 or visit www.sufc.talent-sport.co.uk

*Twitter: @JamesShield1