England Under-21s: Brighton star Jake Forster-Caskey ready to win over Gareth Southgate in France


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The Independent Football

Brighton midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey is looking to impress Gareth Southgate with a view to securing a place in the England Under-21 squad for the European Championships, in the friendly against France on Monday.

Southgate’s under-21 team recorded their 11th successive victory last Thursday when they beat Portugal 3-1 at Turf Moor in another friendly.

Forster-Caskey has started the last four games, including both legs of the qualification play-off win over Croatia, and he knows Southgate will find it hard to overlook him for next summer’s tournament in the Czech Republic if he maintains his form.

“Everybody has one eye on that [squad selection] now,” the he said. “But you’ve got to do well for your club first and hopefully country takes care of itself after that.

“When you’re here and you’ve got the shirt, you’ve got to play well and then hopefully you can keep it because there are a lot of good players and top competition for places.”

England’s last tournament experience was one to forget as they returned from the 2013 Under-21 European Championship in Israel without a single point,  having finished bottom of their group.

Forster-Caskey believes the win over Portugal shows England are heading in the right direction, although he acknowledges that France will provide another stern test of their credentials in Brest.

“They look like a strong team,” Forster-Caskey said. “They’re quite physical and they’ll be good on the ball so it’s going to be quite a  tough test.

“But there is a good spirit and everyone is training very well so it will be a good game.

“The gaffer keeps saying that we will be playing teams who are a really high standard and obviously the boys want to play against the best players.

“We showed that we can beat them [on Thursday] and it’s good for us going into the summer.”