Town boys set for England duty

THE inclusion of Matt Richards and Ian Westlake in tonight's England Under-21 squad is part of Peter Taylor's quest to supply the senior side with more left-sided players.

By Derek Davis

Chief Football Writer

THE inclusion of Matt Richards and Ian Westlake in tonight's England Under-21 squad is part of Peter Taylor's quest to supply the senior side with more left-sided players.

Taylor is in his second stint as Under-21 boss and is combining his international duties with his job as manager of Hull City for the next 12 months


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During his tenure between 1996 and 1999, he lost just two competitive internationals and picked a number of Ipswich players including Richard Wright and Kieron Dyer, who went on to win senior caps.

It is that sort of development uppermost in Taylor's mind as he sends his squad, which includes five uncapped players, into battle against the Ukraine in a friendly at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium tonight with next month's European Championship qualifiers against Austria and Poland firmly in his sights.

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He said: "It's one of the things I've thought about since I've been asked to take the team for 12 months.

"It was just me looking at the seniors playing in Euro 2004 and in other games. I think we all know, I'm sure the manager would like some more left-footers in the team.

"But it takes a bit of time that, it's not easy. I think you would find if you looked at a lot of international sides, there's some of them that haven't got any left-footers as well, so if we could get one or two through then that would be great.

"I would really like to help produce some more left-footed players for the senior team."

It is unlikely Westlake or Richards will start tonight, with only Darren Bent in with a realistic chance after scoring twice in five full Under-21 internationals.

But, as Richards said in Saturday's EADT, it will be a great experience.

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