Jude Bellingham could become the third-youngest player to represent England when they
host the Republic of Ireland.


Boss Gareth Southgate refused to rule out the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, who will be 17 years 137 days old, featuring in Thursday's friendly.

"If we can get him on the pitch and he gets some match minutes as well, that will be a bonus," said Southgate.

Theo Walcott, aged 17 years 75 days, and Wayne Rooney - 17 years 111 days - are England's two youngest players.

Former Birmingham City player Bellingham was promoted from the England Under-21s squad after Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold
and Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse withdrew because of injury.

"The bigger picture here is at times we select older players to come in to challenge directly for places," added Southgate at a news conference
on Wednesday.

"In this instance we are giving a young player an opportunity to work with us, to spend some time with us, invest some time with him.
He'll have a brilliant experience for a few days.

"Whether he stay with us for the full week, we'll decide after the game."

England are playing the Republic of Ireland for the first time since June 2015. Thursday's original opponents, New Zealand, withdrew from
the fixture because of travel and player availability complications caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The past five meetings between the countries have ended in draws, while the Republic led England 1-0 in a friendly in Dublin in February
1995 when it was abandoned because of serious rioting.

Former Liverpool player Ray Houghton scored the only goal for the Republic the last time there was outright winner, at Euro 88 in Germany.
Goalkeeper Darren Randolph, 33, is the only member of the Republic squad who was alive at the time.

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