Tomkins targets U21 bow

James Tomkins will be eager to add to his bulging collection of international caps when England's Under-21 side take on Azerbaijan on Monday night.

The West Ham United defender, who has played more than 20 games for his country over the past four years, could make his debut at U21 level in an international friendly at Milton Keynes Dons' stadium:mk home.

The 20-year-old defender has represented England at U16, U17, U19 and U20 levels, making his U16 debut at the Montaigu Tournament in France in March 2005 before appearing for the U17s at the Pepsi Tournament and a Mini International Tournament in Germany and Luxembourg respectively later the same year.

Tomkins featured at last summer's UEFA European U19 Championship finals in Czech Republic before a calf injury suffered in training brought a premature end to his campaign. He made his U20 debut alongside club-mates Freddie Sears and Junior Stanislas against Italy at Queens Park Rangers on 31 March this year.

Following Monday's match, Tomkins will join another Hammer, Mark Noble, in England's 23-man squad for the UEFA European U21 Championship tournament in Sweden, which kicks-off with the Three Lions' clash with Finland in Halmstad on 15 June.

The Hammers' No30, who has been training with his U21 colleagues in Spain, is looking forward to the experience.

"It's great to be here and to be involved with this side," said Tomkins. "I got the call-up after a good season with my club and I'm trying to enjoy every moment, training with and getting to know the lads. They are a very good group and have helped me settle in pretty easily.

"I obviously know Nobes (Mark Noble) from West Ham so he's been great, but it's really not been difficult, the lads have welcomed me in. I've just loved having this opportunity."

Tomkins was a revelation after slotting into Gianfranco Zola's side in late February, forging a solid partnership with England's Matthew Upson over the closing months of the season.

While the defender, who can also operate at right-back, is focused on securing victory this evening, he admitted his head had already begun turning towards the Euro finals

"Everyone's buzzing about Sweden now, and we're really looking forward to getting started. Yes we have a tough group but we are confident that we can have a good Championship."

Following their opening fixture, Stuart Pearce's side take on Spain in Gothenburg on 18 June before returning to Halmstad to tackle Germany on 22 June.

The tournament will feature some of Europe's finest young players, including Spain's exciting forward Bojan Krkic, Germany winger Mesut Ozil and Italy striker Mario Balotelli, as well as England's own Micah Richards, Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott.

England will be looking to improve on their showing in the Netherlands two years ago, when Noble scored twice in a thrilling penalty shoot-out before Pearce's side were finally eliminated 13-12 on spot-kicks by the Dutch at the semi-final stage.