With the World Cup just around the corner, naturally all eyes are on England's senior team as they prepare to compete in the summer's showcase. However, the next generation of England players will compete in a prestigious international tournament, The Toulon Tournament. The tournament itself was first held in 1967, involving club sides, though that has changed since 1974 with only national sides competing in the tournament.
England's participation in this year's tournament will be their first since 2005. The young Three Lions has had some success in this particular tournament, having won the tournament on 4 occasions (1990, 1991, 1993, and 1994) while finishing as runner-up twice (1985, 1988), making them the 3rd most successful side in the history of the tournament. The 1991 tournament was particularly memorable as Alan Shearer topped the scoring chart with 7 goals while David James was named as the best goalkeeper. In 1998, Emile Heskey was joint-top scorer in the tournament.
For this year's tournament, England has been drawn in group B alongside South Korea, Colombia, Qatar, and defending champion Brazil (winning their 7th title). France, the host and most successful country in the tournament (with 11 titles) has been drawn in group A alongside Chile, China, Mexico, and Portugal. This year's tournament will be held between 21st May to 1st June. Gareth Southgate, the U21s manager is happy that England will be participating in this year's tournament, citing the valuable experience that the youngsters can learn from participating in an international tournament against top-level countries.
So as you watch the likes of Steven Gerrard, Joe Hart, Gary Cahill, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain taking on the world's best in Brazil do keep an eye out for the U20s squad who will compete in Toulon Tournament. Lewis Baker, Calum Chambers, the Murphy twins, Isaac Hayden, and Devante Cole will be among those hoping to impress and lead England to their 5th Toulon tournament title.