Youngsters in England squad

Freddie Sears and James Tomkins have been named in the England Under-20 squad for the friendly game against Italy in west London on 31 March.

The 7pm match at Loftus Road will herald the start of preparations for the FIFA U20 World Cup taking place in Egypt later this year. England will be coached by Noel Blake, who was part of the U19 set-up that reached last summer's European Championship. The Azzurrini are also through to the finals.

All who took part in the UEFA event in July will still be eligible for the FIFA finals - being played between 24 September and 16 October - as well as those making waves at U19 level this season. Blake said: "We have some very good players in this age group, the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Freddie Sears and Andy Carroll up front, James Tomkins and Ciaran Clark in defence.

"All of the lads who were involved in the U19s last season could be involved and we feel we have a decent pool of players to pick from. We feel that if we get all of the players we would like, we could do quite well." Other West Ham United players that may feature at the 24-nation finals include Savio (Germany), Balint Bajner (Hungary) and Adam Street (Canada) although the latter team have yet to qualify.