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Italy U21 v England U21: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time, team news, big-match preview and how to watch the Young Lions clash on BT Sport

Italy U21 v England U21 live stream and TV channel details, plus a match preview, exclusive videos, team news and more ahead of the Young Lions' tough friendly on the road.

Italy U21 v England U21 live stream and TV coverage will be shown exclusively by BT Sport as the two teams go head-to-head in a friendly as the Young Lions prepare for next summer's U21 European Championships.

BT Sport subscribers can simply bookmark this match page, return at 5.15pm when our coverage starts (kick-off is at 5.30pm) and then click here to watch an Italy U21 v England U21 live stream on BTSport.com.

Join now to watch Italy U21s v England U21s on BT Sport

Italy U21 v England U21 will also be broadcast in stunning high definition on BT Sport 1 HD - and on the award-winning BT Sport app from 5.15pm onwards.

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With nothing to play for in terms of points, England boss Aidy Boothroyd will view games against Italy and Denmark as a final chance to experiment before the serious work begins next year ahead of the 2019 U21 European Championships.

The Young Lions qualified top of their group for the tournament, which will be held in Italy and San Marino in June, remaining undefeated through 10 games during the campaign.

Only the Netherlands were able to prevent England from a perfect 10-wins-from-10 campaign, twice holding the talented youngsters to a draw during an otherwise-unstoppable path to next year’s finals for Boothroyd’s boys.

Injuries have seen the squad shrink in size with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harvey Barnes, Josh Onomah and Dael Fry all forced to pull out this week but England’s strength in depth remains impressive as they prepare to take on rivals Italy on foreign soil.

The emergence of Reiss Nelson as one of the breakout stars in the Bundesliga this year following his loan move to Hoffenheim is the latest good news story from a particularly impressive class of youngsters including the likes of Phil Foden, Lewis Cook and the injured Wan-Bissaka.

And Boothroyd hinted there could be further opportunities for players on the fringes of the team to impress ahead of next year’s championships.

“We’ve now got two games where we can give everyone a look at what it is we’re trying to do for the summer,” he said

“It’s nice to have Demarai [Gray] back with us because he’s done really well and the competition for places is fantastic now.

“We had Reiss [Nelson] joining us for the first time last month and Harvey Barnes has done a really good job too so I’m really pleased that we’ve got two players who have come up and shown us they mean business.

“It’s great for the group because the standard is so high that it improves our training and everything else and you need that when you want to be successful - you need everybody fighting for a place.”

There have been some changes behind the scenes too, with former Arsenal and England defender Sol Campbell joining Boothroyd’s backroom staff for the two friendlies this week.

The 44-year-old has been determined to find a job in coaching for a number of years and will work alongside Boothroyd and Lee Carsley during the current international break.

England U21 manager Aidy Boothroyd has had to deal with something of an injury crisis heading into the international break with four players being forced to withdraw from the squad through injury.

Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka misses out with a shoulder injury picked up against Spurs last weekend while Leicester’s impressive on-loan youngster Harvey Barnes, who is currently playing for West Brom in the Championship, has also returned to his club.

Sheffield Wednesday's Josh Onomah, on loan from Spurs, and Dael Fry of Middlesbrough are the other two names forced to pull out through injury – but Bristol City defender Liam Kelly has been added to the squad for the first time.

AC Milan defender Davide Calabria is the only current injury concern for the hosts but it is hoped the 21-year-old could be passed fit for Thursday’s clash.

Italy U21 manager Luigi Di Biagio: "They are two great opponents, we tried and wanted to play against England and Germany is always stimulating. I expect positive responses from my team, as I have always."

England U21 manager Aidy Boothroyd: “They’re two very good games for us this month, after we secured our qualification in October.

“One of them is in Italy, where the Championship is taking place next summer and it will be a real test for us, but that’s what we want.

“We can work on things that we might not necessarily have done in the qualifying games, which will help us towards competing against the best teams in Europe next summer.

“Denmark are a good side and they switch up things tactically and have a certain style in the way they play the game and they regularly qualify for the big tournaments so that’ll be a tough one.

“We’re looking forward to both matches, after coming out of a tough group ourselves.”

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