England's Under 21 squad for next week's opening international at Wembley Stadium against Italy has been named.
With interim chief Stuart Pearce left to focus his attention fully on Manchester City's slide down the Premiership table, Nigel Pearson will act as head coach for the 24th March clash.
England's preparations for this summer's European Under 21 Championship sees them pitted against a talented Italy side and Pearson believes it as an ideal opportunity for several of those of the periphery to stake a claim for a starting berth.
"I'm looking forward to being part of this historic day and I'm sure it will be a great atmosphere in front of a big crowd," he told the Football Association's official website.
"As well as the 'Wembley factor', we have to keep things in perspective and not get carried away with the occasion.
"It's a massive game for the team as we build towards the Finals this summer and a big tournament for these players so we have to strike a balance between enjoying a historic event and making the most of an important preparation game."
Pearson has named a 23-man squad which includes debut call-ups for Matt Derbyshire of Blackburn, Middlesbrough's Lee Cattermole, Tottenham's Ben Alnwick and Gary Cahill of Aston Villa.
Alnwick (Tottenham), Camp (Derby), Hart (Man City); Baines (Wigan), Cahill (Aston Villa), Davies (West Brom), Hoyte (Arsenal), Rosenior (Fulham), A Taylor (Middlesbrough), S Taylor (Newcastle); Bentley (Blackburn), Cattermole (Middlesbrough), Huddlestone (Tottenham), Milner (Newcastle), Reo-Coker (West Ham), Richardson (Manchester United), Routledge (Tottenham); Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Derbyshire (Blackburn), Lita (Reading), Nugent (Preston), Young (Aston Villa).