190618 Lincolnshire Eng U21

The UEFA Euro U21 Championships begin in Italy today, with Aidy Boothroyd's England side amongst the favourites for the tournament. Since the team's formation within the national team's structure in 1976, over 750 players have represented the Young Lions, with seven flying the flag for Lincolnshire.

Steve Sims, whose father, Frank, also played for the Imps, was capped by England U21s, but never earned a senior team cap, despite shining at Watford during the late 1970s and 1980s.

Sims and Steve Froggatt are the only former England U21 internationals that were born in Lincoln, however a further five were born in the county and represented the Three Lions on the U21 stage.

Ian Pearce is one of a few names that have played for the Imps, and also represented England at youth level, having made three appearances for the U21s in 1995. Former loanee Nathan Baker has also represented England U21s, while Harry Toffolo is the most recent name on the list.

Scott Loach, who signed for Watford from Lincoln City's Under-18s in 2006, made 14 appearances for England as an Under-21, and received a call-up to England's senior squad, but never earned a full cap.

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Steve Sims

The central defender represented England U21s a total of 10 times, scoring twice, in the 1970s while at Leicester City.

Sims was snapped up by Graham Taylor's Watford in 1978, and enjoyed six successful years with the Hornets before departing for Notts County in 1985.

The Lincoln-born defender rejoined Watford in 1986, before linking back up with Graham Taylor at Aston Villa in 1987 for two seasons.

After a spell with Burton Albion, Sims joined his hometown side in 1990, and made five appearances before retiring from professional football.

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Chris Woods

The 43-time England international goalkeeper, Woods, was born in the south of the county in Swineshead.

Woods, who made over 600 career appearances, made six caps for England U21s before being an ever-present in the senior team squad throughout the late 1980s and into the 1990s.

As a teenager, Woods was between the sticks for the League Cup campaign in 1977/78 where Nottingham Forest defeated Liverpool in the final.

The Lincolnshire-born stopper was an ever-present in the 1980s and into the 90s with QPR, Norwich City, Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday.

Woods was number one at Ibrox when Rangers won four consecutive Scottish Premier Division and League Cup titles.

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Patrick Bamford

The Leeds United forward was also born in the south of the county, in Grantham.

Bamford, whose career started at Nottingham Forest, has since had spells with Chelsea, and after numerous loan spells away at EFL clubs, joined Middlesbrough on a permanent basis in 2017.

The striker joined Leeds United permanently in 2018.

Bamford represented Republic of Ireland as an U18, but switched allegiances to England in 2010 and has since represented the Three Lions at U18, U19 and U21 levels.

The 25-year-old made two Under 21 caps, but failed to get his name on the score sheet.

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John Middleton

Former Nottingham Forest goalkeeper, John Middleton, was born in Skegness, but sadly passed away in July 2016.

Middleton was given his Nottingham Forest debut as a 17-year-old in the 1970s, and fell just short of making 100 appearances for the Reds, before Brian Clough signed Peter Shilton.

The stopper won the Anglo-Scottish Cup and promotion from the Second Division in 1976 with Forest.

Middleton signed for Derby County in 1977, the same year in which he made three appearances for England U21s in European Championship Qualifiers, twice against Norway and once against Finland.

The Lincolnshire-born goalkeeper made 73 league appearances for the Rams, before a persistent shoulder injury forced his retirement from football in 1980.

Steve Froggatt

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa winger starred 17 times for England Under 21s, scoring once.

Froggatt was born in Lincoln, and was snapped up by Villa as a youngster. He made 23 appearances in the Premier League's opening season, before joining Graham Taylor at Wolves for £1million in 1994.

Froggatt made more than 100 appearances for Wolves, before joining Coventry City for another seven-figure fee in 1998. His stint with the Sky Blues saw him earn a senior team call-up, but he was an unused substitute in Kevin Keegan's squad.

He was forced into an early retirment following injury, which saw his professional football end at the age of 29.

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Paul Wilkinson

The Louth-born forward was capped four times by England U21s between 1985 and 1986, scoring once.

After a spell with Grimsby Town, Wilkinson had spells with Everton and Nottingham Forest, before joining Watford in 1988.

Scoring more than 50 times in little over 150 appearances, Wilkinson moved to Middlesbrough in 1996.

Wilkinson had more success in Teesside, scoring 65 times in 202 appearances.

Following loan spells away, the forward departed Boro in 1996 for Barnsley, followed by short stays at Millwall and Northampton Town.

Wilkinson called time on his playing career in 2000 having scored almost 200 senior goals.