Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe and Isaiah "Izzy" Brown of Chelsea will not represent England during the forthcoming U20 World Cup. Head coach Paul Simpson announced his Young Lions squad that will travel to South Korea on Monday (8 May), with both players – plus Manchester City's Celtic loanee Patrick Roberts – declared unavailable "due to first-team commitments".
United boss Jose Mourinho hinted that DR Congo-born Tuanzebe would be withdrawn from the tournament last month amid a defensive injury crisis that saw Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all sidelined. The academy graduate, who made his first-team debut as a substitute during January's FA Cup trouncing of Wigan Athletic, surprisingly made his Premier League bow as a makeshift right-back during a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal on Sunday (7 May) after which he was widely praised for nullifying the considerable threat of Alexis Sanchez.
Mourinho was effusive in his praise for Tuanzebe after the full-time whistle and the 19-year-old looks set to feature again in the top-flight before the end of the season as United prioritise their attempts to secure qualification for next season's Champions League by winning the Europa League for the very first time.
The Red Devils, 1-0 winners in Galicia last week, welcome Celta Vigo to Old Trafford for their semi-final second-leg match on Thursday before closing out the domestic campaign with games against Tottenham Hotspur, Southampton and Crystal Palace.
Brown is not currently part of Antonio Conte's first-team setup at Chelsea and spent the opening half of the year on loan at Rotherham United before swapping a second-tier relegation scrap for a PL promotion push with Huddersfield Town. He has made 18 appearances to date for David Wagner's side, who ended the season with back-to-back defeats and will now face Sheffield Wednesday in a two-legged affair for the right to contest the Championship play-off final against either Reading or Fulham.
While Tuanzebe and Brown will play no part in the World Cup, United are represented by goalkeeper Dean Henderson and Chelsea's three-strong contingent is made up of defenders Fikayo Tomori and Jake Clarke-Salter and striker Dominic Solanke. Tottenham Hotspur duo Kyle Walker-Peters and Josh Onomah are included, as are Liverpool pair Sheyi Ojo and Ovie Ejaria. Everton have four players in Jonjoe Kenny, Callum Connolly, Kieran Dowell and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, while Arsenal winger Ainsley Maitland-Niles also makes the cut.
England, third-place finishers in 1993 who did not qualify for the 2015 event in New Zealand, begin their Group A campaign against Argentina at the Jeonju World Cup Stadium on 20 May before facing Guinea at the same venue three days later. They will then play the competition hosts in Suwon on 26 May.
Simpson's squad met up at St. George's Park this afternoon and will travel to the Japanese City of Osaka on Tuesday for a six-day pre-tournament training camp.