A look at the schedule for some of our young stars on the international stage...Five members of the Reading academy are due to be in action this week across a number of different age groups for their respective nations. Danny Loader and Luke Southwood have both had the call from England at U17 and U19 level.
Zak Jules and Jake Sheppard will both join-up with Scotland U21s as they face Estonia in a Friendly next Tuesday, with Axel Andresson also getting a call-up at U21 level for his native Iceland in a trio of fixtures over the coming days.
England U17 v Czech Republic U17, Thursday 23rd March, Bosnia
England U17 v Slovenia U17, Saturday 25th March, Bosnia
England U17 v Bosnia & Herzegovina U17, Tuesday 28th March, Bosnia
Danny Loader has been named as part of U17 coach Steve Cooper’s squad as the team look to secure a place at the UEFA U17 Championship in a few months’ time.
The Young Lions will travel to Bosnia where they face Czech Republic, Slovenia and the host nation in a round-robin tournament, with the top-placed team in the group and the seven best runners-up making it through to this summer’s Euro finals in Croatia.
Loader has been an ever-present for the U17s in recent months as the squad bid for a place in the Euros this summer, and Loader will be wanting to continue to make an impact for Cooper’s side so he is firmly in the coaches’ plans should the Young Lions qualify.
England U20 v Portugal, Thursday 23rd March, 3pm, Brittany,
England U20 v France, Saturday 25th March, 2:30pm, Brittany
England U20 v Senegal, Tuesday 28th March, 5pm, Brittany
Royals keeper Luke Southwood will be joining the Young Lions squad for a trio of fixtures over the coming fortnight as the U20s face Portugal, France and Senegal in the next few days. England will use the matches as preparation for the U20 world Cup in South Korea this May, which Southwood will hope to be a part of.
The three fixtures will take place in Brittany, France, with Southwood included in new head coach Paul Simpson’s first international squad. The first of the three clashes against Portugal will take place at the Stade de Chateau Bily in Saint-Brieuc.
This will be followed by a match-up against host nation France two days later, on Saturday 25th March, at the Stade Fred Aubert in Saint-Brieuc, finishing up against Senegal at the Stade Municipal du Haut-Champ in Ploufragan Ville.
Zak Jules and Jake Sheppard:
Scotland U21 v Estonia U21, Tuesday 28th March, St Mirren Park
Royals duo Zak Jules and Jake Sheppard have both been called up to the Scotland U21 squad to face Estonia at St Mirren Park next Tuesday. Jules has been with Scottish side Motherwell on loan since January, with seven appearances to his name for the club north of the border so far this season. The defender has even netted for the Steelmen in a 2-1 away win at Kilmarnock in the Scottish Premiership.
Midfielder Jake Sheppard has also been out on loan in the last couple of months, with National League outfit Dagenham and Redbridge. Sheppard has found the net twice in his nine appearances for the Daggers, with both players hoping to help the Scotland U21s return to winning ways after a 4-0 defeat to Slovakia in their last outing back in November 2016.
Iceland U21 v Georgia U21, Wednesday, 22nd March
Iceland U21 v Georgia U21, Saturday 25th March
Iceland U21 v Saudi Arabia U21 , Tuesday 28th March
Reading defender Axel Andresson has been called to represent his native Iceland in three games over this international week. Two matches with Georgia will be followed up by a match-up against Saudi Arabia in three international friendlies for the Icelanders.
After running France and Macedonia close in qualification for the summer’s U21 European Championships, but ultimately missing out by three points, Andresson will be hoping to help Iceland bounce-back following a 4-2 defeat to Ukraine at the tail-end of last year.
Axel has been enjoying a spell out on loan with Bath since November and has made a real impression on the Romans since joining, with the club currently sitting ninth in the National League South table.