Sunderland duo Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore in England Under-21 squad

Sunderland duo Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore have been selected in the England Under-21 squad for two upcoming friendlies.

Thursday, 3rd November 2016, 5:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th November 2016, 4:15 pm
Duncan Watmore
Duncan Watmore

Having already qualified for next summer’s Euro Finals in Poland, preparations begin next week with two friendly games.

The Young Lions play Italy at Southampton’s St. Mary’s Stadium on Thursday, November 10 before heading across the English Channel to face France in Paris four days later.

There was also a spot in the squad for Hartlepool-born Derby County keeper Jonathan Mitchell.

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“This is what we want, to test ourselves against these sort of nations,” said England Under-21s interim head coach Aidy Boothroyd.

“As soon as the final whistle went against Bosnia in Walsall last month, we were already thinking about the preparations for next summer and trying to make sure we finish off the year with two more good performances.”

The squad will meet up at St. George’s Park on Monday.

Watmore, meanwhile, was among the Sunderland squad that visited Nissan’s factory on Thursday afternoon as part of plans to engage more with the community.

Watmore said the trip was a good chance to speak with fans ahead of the long trip to Bournemouth for tomorrow’s Premier League clash.

“It is a great stage of the season for us to kick on,” said Watmore.

“We’ve had a bad few games and we aren’t in the right place in the table, but the only way we can rectify that is by winning football matches.

“That starts now and that starts with three points at Bournemouth on Saturday.

“We need the kind of positivity the fans give us.

“Our trip to Nissan has provided a real lift for the players, but perhaps that is the wrong word because we don’t need lifting, we know our job and we are feeling positive ahead of the game.

“We know we have to get a win and kickstart our season but the only way we can do that is with a positive mind set, so we will work hard for each other and hopefully that will lead to three points.”