The kids are alright

YOUNG Latics pair Callum McManaman and Lee Nicholls have been included in England’s final 21-man squad for the FIFA Under-20s World Cup, to be held in Colombia in July and August – the first time any players from Wigan Athletic have been involved in the event.

Manager Roberto Martinez has described the news as ‘a real piece of Latics history’.

Head coach Brian Eastick, assisted by England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, had initially selected both players in a group of 30, but they have now made the cut for the squad which will travel to Colombia next month, along with the cream of young players drawn from leading Barclays Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.

Nicholls has played for his country at Under-19 level but for McManaman, this would be a first cap for England at any level and Martinez says it is a just reward for the work they have been putting in.

“This is a real piece of Latics history,” he said.

“Callum had a great season last campaign, where he broke through into the first team picture on merit and scored on his debut in the FA Cup.

“Lee experienced being in and around a first team squad during three loan spells at other clubs in the football league, as well as training and travelling with the Wigan first team.

“They have both progressed extremely well over the past two seasons and this call-up is a reward for all their hard work.”

England have been drawn in a tough-looking Group F, alongside Argentina, Mexico and North Korea.

The competition will take place all over Colombia, with England’s group games being played out in the 46,000 capacity Estadio Atanasio Girardot in Medellin and in the 26,500 capacity Estadio Jaime Morón León in Cartagena.

England play North Korea on Friday, July 29, Argentina on Monday, August 1, and Mexico on Thursday, August 4.

The final will be played in Bogota on Saturday, August 20.