Chance for trio to make Norwich City history with England U21s
Ahead of a potentially memorable evening for three Norwich City players with the England Under-21s, David Freezer looks back on previous Canaries stars who represented the Young Lions.
There could be three names added to the Norwich City honours board for England Under-21 recognition this evening.
While just seven players have been capped at senior level by the Three Lions in Canaries history, 19 have earned U21 caps over the years. Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Ben Godfrey are all hoping to join that group, after the trio earned their first U21 call-ups at the same time.
With each having started all four games of the Premier League season so far, the Norwich triumvirate are among the more experienced players in the squad, as Aidy Boothroyd ushers in the next generation.
The likes of Angus Gunn, James Maddison and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are all now too old for U21 selection - and both Cantwell and Godfrey only just qualify for selection for the 2021 European Championship in Hungary and Slovenia, falling just the right side of the January 1, 1998 cutoff.
The City players are among the players to have managed top-flight experience already, alongside the likes of Everton midfielder Tom Davies, Manchester City starlet Phil Foden, Burnley winger Dwight McNeil and Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood.
Qualification for the 2021 finals begins in Turkey this evening (6.45pm UK time), ahead of a home game against Kosovo on Monday at the KCOM Stadium, the home of Hull City.
The last of City's U21 internationals was James Maddison, who won three of his nine caps while at Norwich, in March 2018 - ahead of his big-money move to Leicester City that summer.
Cantwell would become the first Norfolk-born player to feature for the Young Lions since Angus Gunn, although the keeper was on loan from Manchester City for five of his 12 caps.
Prior to that it was another goalkeeper, Declan Rudd, who won his solitary U21 cap in 2013 to join Chris Sutton, Dale Gordon and Daryl Sutch as Norfolk-born players to be capped at the same level while playing for Norwich.
Justin Fashanu and Jacob Murphy had also moved to Norfolk as children however, while Ryan Bennett also spent part of his childhood in Nelson's County.
However, if all three were to feature tonight it will be the first time in Canaries history that three players have featured for the U21s in the same match.
There have been occasions when two City players have been alongside each other in a Young Lions game, with Darren Eadie scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Italy at Ashton Gate in 1997 - past future goalkeeping great Gianluigi Buffon - in a game that Andy Marshall also started.
There have even been two in a game at Carrow Road, with Chris Woods and Dave Watson both playing in a 4-1 win over Denmark in Norwich back in 1983.
Aarons, Cantwell and Godfrey will all struggle to match the achievements of former Canaries winger Nathan Redmond though, who won 26 of his total of 38 U21 caps while he was a Norwich player - leaving him third in the all-time appearances list, behind Nathaniel Chalobah (40) and James Milner (46).
Tonight they will hope to make a start though, with Aarons trying to add to his seven U19 caps, Godfrey his two U20 caps earlier this year and Cantwell to the four appearances he made for the U17s back in 2014.
ENGLAND U21 CAPS WON BY NORWICH CITY PLAYERS
Nathan Redmond - 26 caps, 10 goals - 2013-16
Chris Sutton - 13 caps, 1 goal - 1992-94
Kevin Reeves - 9 caps, 2 goals - 1978-80
Dave Watson - 7 caps, 1 goal - 1983-84
Darren Eadie - 7 caps, 2 goals - 1994-97
Justin Fashanu - 6 caps, 3 goals - 1980-81
Dean Ashton - 6 caps - 2005
Jacob Murphy - 6 caps, 1 goal - 2017
Dale Gordon - 4 caps - 1987
Robert Rosario - 4 caps - 1987
Tim Sherwood - 4 caps - 1990
Daryl Sutch - 4 caps - 1992-93
Andy Marshall - 4 caps - 1995-97
Louis Donowa - 3 caps - 1985
James Maddison - 3 caps - 2017-18
Chris Woods - 1 cap - 1984
Lee Marshall - 1 cap -1999
Ryan Bennett - 1 cap -2012
Declan Rudd - 1 cap -2013
(Source: The Canary Companion)