A trio of Young Lions

James Tomkins, Junior Stanislas and Freddie Sears have all been preparing hard with England for Tuesday night's mouthwatering Under-20 friendly against Italy.

The Azzurrini will take on the Young Lions at the Loftus Road home of Queen's Park Rangers with both sides taking the first steps ahead of the FIFA U-20 World Cup later this summer. The West Ham United trio are all hoping to impress in a squad that also boasts the likes of Manchester City's Daniel Sturridge and Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs were put through their paces by coach Noel Blake over the weekend and on Monday.

Tomkins, who turned 20 on Sunday, and 19-year-old Sears were both part of the England team that reached last summer's UEFA European U19 Championship while Stanislas, 19, has also been capped at that level. This will be their first taste of U20 action, with the 18-year-old Jordan Spence, capped at every level up to U19, also in with a shout of making it to the finals in Egypt.

Speaking to theFA.com, Blake said: "The Italians have proved to be very strong opposition at all levels of the game and we will learn a great deal from the players involved, as they will be facing very formidable opponents.

"It is an important game in terms of us looking at the options we will have available to us when the finals comes around in September. Having secured qualification, our next aim is to prepare the players and look at the various options that may or may not be available to us."