Gareth Southgate discusses why he has given Rolando Aarons a first England Under-21s chance

Three Lions Wembley

The England Under-21s boss has named the Newcastle wideman in his squad for the Euro 2017 qualifier against Switzerland.

England Under-21s manager Gareth Southgate has told the Football Association's official website that he has given Magpies wideman Rolando Aarons a first call-up to give him an understanding of the step up from Under-20 level.

Aarons has scored twice in five appearances for the Under-20s since making his debut for the youth side in 2014, and has now been given his first chance at the higher level.

The Jamaican born winger, who can also plat at left-back, has made 15 appearances for the Newcastle first team since making his senior debut for the club on the first day of last season.

The former Bristol City youth player has featured eight times in the Premier League this season for the struggling North East side, starting three of those matches and playing mainly on the left side of defence.

He has been rewarded with a call-up to the Three Lions Under-21 side, and though Southgate admitted the move was partly enforced by injuries to other players, he said he wanted to give Aarons his chance. 

Southgate told the FA website: "We see him as a wide [midfield] player and we are in a situation where, unfortunately, Duncan Watmore has an injury, and Nathan Redmond has been a key player for us and he is out.

"For Rolando it is an opportunity for him to come with the Under-21s for the first time and a chance to impress us and get an understanding of the way we work."

Former England centre-back Southgate also stressed the importance of blooding players such as the 20-year-old as early as possible, and explained that if players move up through the ranks together then they adapt quickly to a higher level.

He added: "They know the players that are playing alongside them and it means that adapting to play at their best level can happen a bit more quickly.

"So even if they have not worked with us as a group of coaching staff they are used to coming to St. George's Park and they are used to the other players."

Southgate's side are three points clear at the top of their qualifying group halfway through the campaign, having beaten this month's opponents Switzerland 3-1 in their last match at Brighton's Falmer Stadium.

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