England U21 v Ukraine U21 preview: Dominic Solanke to captain hosts
Last Updated: 27/03/18 8:16pm
Dominic Solanke looks set to captain England U21s when they face Ukraine in a Euro 2019 qualifier at Bramall Lane in Sheffield on Tuesday (kick-off 6pm).
Aidy Boothroyd's side are unbeaten in qualifying and are top of Group Four, five points ahead of second-placed Ukraine.
Solanke scored when England beat Ukraine 2-0 in the reverse fixture in Kiev in November and is now poised to lead the team out.
Asked if Solanke would be the captain, Boothroyd said: "If he's starting, yes. He was due to start in the (Romania) game but we wanted to look after him. He's got every chance of starting and being captain.
"He's a terrific player and hopefully he can get more game time at his club. He's got his work cut out there with those three (Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino) but we think he's a massive talent, as does his club, and hopefully we can give him a good opportunity to show what he's all about at Bramall Lane."
There may also be a first chance at U21 level for Fulham youngster Ryan Sessegnon, who can be deployed at either left-back or on the left wing.
The 17-year-old has scored 14 Championship goals this season and Boothroyd insists he has been impressed by the teenager's down-to-earth nature.
"The most impressive thing about Ryan is his humility," Boothroyd admitted. "He's a very humble, impressive young man. When you ask him about his game that's all he's interested in - getting better. He's got a real growth mindset.
"Being around this lot is perhaps a little quicker than what he's used to with the younger (England) age groups but he's playing in a Championship team that's doing really well and he is a key player for them.
"Hopefully he can grow and become a key player for us. He's certainly been very impressive on and off the pitch.
"He's got his feet on the ground, he doesn't get all excited by all the stuff that goes around, he's very level-headed. He knows what he is, where he wants to get to and what he wants to be. He's willing to put the work in. Hopefully he can steer clear of injury and be a really talented player for us."
England warmed up for the game with a 2-1 friendly win over Romania on Saturday, with Demarai Gray and Jake Clarke-Salter scoring.
However, they will be without Manchester City's Jack Harrison due to injury.
Harrison, who sat out the Romania clash with a minor abdominal strain, had hoped to be fit for the qualifier in Sheffield but has returned to Middlesbrough, where he is on loan, to be assessed.
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