Arsenal legend Alan Smith has lauded the potential of Manchester United youngsters Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck and believes the pair represent two of England's brightest prospects beyond Euro 2012.

Jones and Welbeck are expected to start against Holland on Wednesday night as Stuart Pearce auditions England's young hopefuls for a place in this summer's European Championships.

With Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand absent, Jones is likely to be tested at centre-half alongside Chelsea's Gary Cahill - a challenge Smith believes the young defender is more than capable of passing.

"In winning three caps so far, Jones has played at right-back in Montenegro, as an advanced midfielder against Spain and most recently as a defensive one in the win over Sweden," Smith told the Telegraph.

"Maybe it is time now to see the [Manchester United] teenager at centre-half, his favoured position, where he might give a glimpse of the future post John Terry and Rio Ferdinand. Given the uncertainty over that pair for differing reasons, Wednesday night is a good chance to see how Jones handles the challenge against top opposition.

"Obviously it will not be easy whatever team Holland pick, but if Jones settles down he is the type to take responsibility by breaking forward with the ball at his feet - an invaluable asset at international level. There seems little doubt that Jones will go to the Euros. What role he plays, however, remains uncertain."

For Welbeck, there is an added level of scrutiny as Pearce looks to identify the man to step into Wayne Rooney's shoes for at least the first two games of the tournament.

The Manchester United frontman is expected to get the nod over Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and, with Darren Bent facing a race to be fit in time for June, the youngster could cement his place in the starting XI with an impressive performance tonight.

"Quite rightly, Welbeck stands ahead of Sturridge in the queue to replace the suspended Wayne Rooney this summer," Smith said. "The Manchester United frontrunner is improving all the time, whether it is with his ability to lead the line on his own or play as a partner for Rooney.

"Quick and mobile, Welbeck's finishing in front of goal has also impressed. What better time, then, to give the lad his first England start? Whether Darren Bent had been available or not, we now need to see how Welbeck combines with his international team-mates, having looked pretty lively in his appearances as a substitute.

"Whoever is in charge this summer faces a big decision before those first two group games, namely how best to cover for Rooney's absence. A good display here would not harm Welbeck at all."