A new look U21 England side takes to the pitch this evening in their first qualifier for the European Championships in 2023.

The Young Lions face Kosovo tonight at Stadium MK, the home of MK Dons, with kick-off scheduled for 7 pm.

It has certainly been a quick turnaround after the disappointing performances at the Euros tournament earlier in the year.

Carsley’s men will be looking to kick start their new era with a confidence boosting victory.

Lets take a look at all the details and previews ahead of tonights game:

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

A summer of change

The summer of 2021 will of course be remembered for the England first team’s run to the final of the European Chamionships.

However the U21’s also had a major tournament of their own in March of this year, with a disapointing group stage exit at the U21 Euros.

Anticipation was high before the tournament with such a strong squad of experienced young players.

After losses to both Switzerland and Portugal, England went on to win their last game against Croatia, but went out of the tournament on goal difference.

It was a hugely anticlimactic result, with many predicting England to go all the way.

The poor showing proved to be the end of long term manager Aidy Boothroyd, who has since been replaced by former Everton midfielder Lee Carsley.

There seems to be a sense of a fresh start with the Young Lions, after consecutive tournaments ended with disapointment.

Carsley has experience within England after coaching the U20 side, but tonight will be his first game leading at U21 level and by far his biggest test.

(Photo by Barrington Coombs – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Squad update

With the changes made over the summer bringing in a new coach and new philosophies, this has also brought about changes to the squad.

This new era is a chance for new players to get an oppurtunity, with some players from the tournament squad now older than the U21 quota.

In fact Carsley’s squad for these upcoming qualifers incldues 13 players who werent involved in the March 2021 tournament.

There is a clear intention to start fresh and leave a clean slate for players to fight for their places.

It was also announced yesterday that Crystal Palace defender Marc Geuhi will be the captain of Carsley’s side throughout the qualifying campaign.

Injuries have been a big part of the selection process too, with Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott the latest to pull out due to injury.

Here is Carsley’s first squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Joe Bursik (Stoke City), Etienne Green (St. Etienne), Josh Griffiths (Lincoln City, loan from West Brom)

Defenders: Max Aarons (Norwich City), Levi Samuels-Colwill (Huddersfield Town, loan from Chelsea), Charlie Cresswell (Leeds United), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Anderlecht, loan from Manchester City), Valentino Livramento (Southampton), Luke Thomas (Leicester City)

Midfielders: Tommy Doyle (Manchester City), Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace, loan from Chelsea), Jimmy Garner (Nottingham Forest, loan from Manchester United), Curtis Jones (Liverpool)*, Cole Palmer (Manchester City), Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa), Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur), Aaron Ramsey (Aston Villa)

Forwards: Folarin Balogun (Arsenal), Rhian Brewster (Sheffield United), Tyreece John-Jules (Blackpool, loan from Arsenal), Noni Madueke (PSV Eindhoven), Emile Smith-Rowe (Arsenal)

*Suspended for Kosovo game

(Photo by Barrington Coombs – The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Challenge ahead

Tonight’s game against Kosovo certianly wont be a walk in the park, but on home soil England will be confident of a win.

The last time the two sides met, in September of 2020, England ran out 6-0 winners in Kosovo, a result they would be happy to recreate tonight.

Arsenal forward Eddie Nkeitah scored a hat-trick that night to become the U21’s all time leading goalscorer, but without him in this current squad due to injury, goals will have to come from elsewhere.

Carsley’s new era would be given a huge boost with victory tonight, with a long campaign ahead of them.

England travel to Slovenia and Andorra in the October international break, and dont play at home after tonight until November against the Czech Republic.

England U21 full qualfiying schedule:

September 7: England vs Kosovo

October 7: Slovenia vs England

October 11: Andorra vs England

November 11: England vs Czech Republic

March 25, 2022: England vs Andorra

March 29: Albania vs England

June 3: Czech Republic vs England

June 7: England vs Albania

June 10: Kosovo vs England

June 14: England vs Slovenia

(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Tune into the game tonight at 7pm to see how Carsley and his team get on in their first qualfier for Euro 2023.

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