BURNLEY striker Danny Ings could be in line to start for England Under-21s as they face Wales in a European Championship qualifying group.
The Young Lions sit six points clear of Moldova at the top of Group One with just three matches remaining, having racked up six wins and 24 goals during an unbeaten seven-game sequence.
Gareth Southgate’s side are almost certain to reach the play-offs but the Under-21s boss knows beating European minnows is hardly a yardstick with which to measure success, highlighted by the way they performed so badly in Israel last summer after a fine run of form.
As a result, the Young Lions will be playing at the Toulon tournament in France next week, where they will pit their wits against Brazil, Colombia, Qatar and South Korea in their initial four group games.
Ings is too old to compete in that but has been named in the squad for tonight’s clash and with Manchester United’s Wilfried Zaha pulling out through injury, Ings could find himself in the starting XI.
Southgate is hopeful of a victory to send his side into the Toulon Tournament, something the England boss is placing huge emphasis on, high on confidence.
“It is invaluable playing teams from different continents,” Southgate said.
“We play mainly at this age group European teams. We think we need to expose our players throughout the age groups to more South American, North American, African and Asian teams.
“It is an important thing for their development and we want tough challenges. It is no use ducking the big opponents. We want to play the best teams and test ourselves against the best teams.
“Only then will we know exactly where we are so that was important for us this summer.”
Southgate is wary of the threat posed by Wales with his squad carrying a few injuries.
“It can change very quickly,” he said. “We’ve got three away games to finish the group with, which will be challenging.
“We’ve got a few new players coming in so you’re not totally certain how that is going to pan out.
“We set off at the start to play a certain brand of football and to try and win while playing that brand of football. That will be our aim again on Monday night.
“We focus on performance and the way that we play and if you do that then results are a by-product of that.”