Mason Greenwood Pulls Out of England U21 Squad Through Injury
Todd Cantwell Replaces Greenwood
The Three Lions face Portugal on March 28 before completing the group stages three days later against Croatia. England convincingly reached the tournament, winning nine of their ten qualifiers, sealing the top spot in Group Three beating Turkey 2-1 in October.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions, Greenwood’s injury is set to miss all of the group stages. However, if the Three Lions are to progress to the knockout stages, he could become available as they are set to take place from May 31 to June 6. The altering of the competition has come so it does not clash with the senior competition which was pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Greenwood has been excellent since bursting on to the scene and his 22nd goal at the weekend in the FA Cup defeat to Leicester City was the most goals scored by a teenager in any of the top-five European leagues.
How Does Todd Cantwell Fit Into This England Side?
The 23-year-old has been instrumental for Norwich this season as they sit top of the Championship table, looking to return to the Premier League on the first attempt. His five goals and three assists this season also show the direction England are heading.
The Norwich midfielder can play on either wing and as an attacking midfielder which will help the Young Lions with his expressive style. His high work rate, combined with his technical ability, is different from the man he replaces in Greenwood. By picking Cantwell, Boothroyd may be changing tactics to play more direct as the senior side did at the World Cup.
His flair and dribbling could prove to suit the squad more as Greenwood and Callum Hudson-Odoi would be fighting for the right-wing whereas Cantwell has played the majority of his games for the club on the left-wing and would give the squad a more well-rounded feel.
As the senior side did at the World Cup in 2018 playing both Jesse Lingard and Delle Alli as attacking midfielders Boothroyd could use Cantwell as an option to do such that. A forward line of Cantwell, Emile-Smith Rowe, Ebere Eze, Hudson-Odoi and Eddie Nketiah could prove to be vastly superior.
The young England international has the most key passes (1.7 per game) and dribbles among his peers in the squad, and with Nketiah in hot goalscoring form for his country, his flair could prove to be a significant edge and a blessing in disguise for this young England side.
His experience on the international stage is however limited with only three appearances but his excellent form could help England make it out the group stages, which they have only done three times out of eight.