Sheffield United: Long remains with Young Lions

George Long trains with England under-21's before the meeting against Scotland  � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY
George Long trains with England under-21's before the meeting against Scotland � BLADES SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY

George Long will report for international duty after Saturday’s League One fixture with MK Dons after being named in the England under-21 squad for next month’s European Championship qualifiers against Moldova and Finland.

The games - on September 5 and 9 respectively - mark the start of head coach Gareth Southgate’s reign after he took charge of the Young Lions last week.

Long, who is set to miss United’s South Yorkshire derby at Rotherham as a result of his call-up, was an unused substitute when England, with Roy Hodgson at the helm, beat Scotland 6-0 in front of a 26,942 crowd at Bramall Lane.

Watford’s Jonathan Bond and Jack Butland of Stoke City will also compete for the number one jersey.

“I’m delighted to get this role and extremely excited about the prospect of working with the best and brightest young players in the country,” Southgate said after signing a three year contract with the FA. “I’m a proud Englishman and playing for my country was the pinnacle of my playing career.

“Since retiring as a player I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience of the game both here and abroad. I’m eager to play my part in preparing players to compete at the highest level.

“Whenever any team steps onto the pitch for England, being successful is of huge importance, But it is also about developing a clear style of play that can allow our talented young players to flourish.”

England face Moldova at the Madejski Stadium, Reading, before facing Mika Laurikainen’s side in Tampere. Lithuania, Wales and San Marino complete qualifying Group One.