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Gardner and Baker named in final England squad for U20 World Cup

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Gardner and Baker named in final England squad for U20 World Cup

By Dan Harrison

Gary Gardner and Nathan Baker have been named in England's final 21-man squad for the forthcoming FIFA U20 World Cup.

The Villa duo are off to Columbia with the national side for the prestigious tournament which takes place throughout July and August.

Baker is one of six members of the England U19 squad who sealed U20 World Cup qualification by reaching the semi-finals of last summer's European Championship.

Since then, the defender has gone on to make a handful of senior appearances for Villa - his debut coming in the 2-1 win at Wigan last season - as well as featuring for England U21s.

Former claret and blues youth team skipper Gardner recently featured for England U19s in a defeat against Holland.

The midfielder has been on the fringes of Villa's first team since completing his recovery from a serious knee injury.

His impressive form for the reserves prompted former boss Gerard Houllier to promote Gardner to train with the club's senior stars.

The England U20 squad will meet up on July 14 before travelling to Denver, Colorado in the USA for a ten day training camp to prepare for the competition.

Brian Eastick's side then head out to Medellin in Columbia where they will face Korea DPR in their first game on Friday July 29.

A formidable test in the form of six-time U20 world champions Argentina awaits England in their second Group F clash before the squad travel to Cartagena for the third group game against Mexico.

The U20 World Cup is billed by FIFA as their second largest tournament behind the senior World Cup.

Three Lions coach Eastick will be assisted by U21s manager Stuart Pearce throughout the competition.

Another Villa player, striker Andreas Weimann, is also set to feature in the U20 World Cup for Austria.


Goalkeepers: Jak Alnwick (Newcastle United), Jack Butland (Birmingham City), Lee Nicholls (Wigan Athletic).

Defenders: Nathan Baker (Aston Villa), Ben Gordon (Chelsea), Jack Robinson (Liverpool), Adam Smith (Tottenham Hotspur), Reece Wabara (Manchester City), Andre Wisdom (Liverpool), Scott Wootton (Manchester United).

Midfielders: Reece Brown (Manchester United), Gary Gardner (Aston Villa), Jason Lowe (Blackburn Rovers), Dean Parrett (Tottenham Hotspur), George Thorne (West Bromwich Albion).

Forwards: Benik Afobe (Arsenal), Nicholas Ajose (Manchester United), Callum McManaman (Wigan Athletic), Alex Nimely (Manchester City), Ryan Noble (Sunderland), Matthew Phillips (Blackpool).

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By @AVFCOfficial 29th June 2011
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