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England vs. Italy: Probability that Tottenham Hotspur youngsters start in U-21 opener

Expect to see some Spurs players on the pitch for Stuart Pearce.

Ian Walton

The European Under-21 Championships get underway on Wednesday, and three Tottenham Hotspur players will be in action for England. There were supposed to be four Spurs players in Stuart Pearce's side, but then Andros Townsend had to go get himself involved in a betting scandal. Whoopsies!

England have a lot of solid central players and are very light on good center forwards, so expect them to play some variation of 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. All three of Tottenham's players are defenders, though one of those can play as a left winger as well. We like their chances to play a part.

Steven Caulker - The only stone cold lock to start. It would be utterly stunning if Stuart Pearce didn't play him alongside Craig Dawson in the center of the England defense. He's much more experienced than Tom Lees and Andre Wisdom has played more right back than center back in his Liverpool career. He's been capped for the senior England team and, given the injuries to senior England players, probably would have been called in again if he wasn't a key player in Pearce's side.

Danny Rose - He has the most caps of any U-21 player in the squad and he's the seventh-most capped U-21 player of all time, so one would assume he'll start. Only Jordan Henderson approaches his level of experience. Liverpool's Jack Robinson is definitely a competitor for a starting spot, but we expect Rose to get the nod.

Adam Smith - Definitely not outside the realm of possibility, but my guess is that Wisdom will get the start over him. Smith did play in considerably more games this season, however, and previously started for England at the Under-20 World Cup. While I expect to see Wisdom start the match, this is a toss-up.

In any event, we're all likely to have plenty of reasons to watch Wednesday's game.

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