Gabriel Agbonlahor, of Aston Villa, has travelled with the England Under-21 squad to Portugal ahead of their Euro 2009 qualifier in Agueda tomorrow.
Injuries to Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Emile Heskey left senior boss Steve McClaren short on attacking options for the crucial clash against Croatia the following day but Tottenham Hotspur's Darren Bent has been called up while Theo Walcott and Agbonlahor are currently focusing on the Under-21s.
Qualifying for Stuart Pearce's youngsters has not been as traumatic as it has for the seniors, and they protect a 100 per cent record when they face Portugal.
A point in Agueda will see them reach the playoffs for their finals in Sweden.
Agbonlahor, who has played in every qualifier this season like Walcott, suffered a slight knee injury against Bulgaria on Friday but Pearce is still hopeful of the Aston Villa striker playing against Portugal.
Pearce has been using graduation to the seniors as an incentive for his youngsters, and Craig Gardner is hoping McClaren's men can complete the job - because it will put an end to Villa boss Martin O'Neill being linked with taking over as England boss.
"Hopefully we'll qualify and I think we have a great chance," Gardner said. "Obviously the gaffer will stay at Villa, and that's how we want it."
O'Neill has shaped a squad at Villa Park full of young English talent, with the likes of Gardner and Agbonlahor impressing.
"The gaffer likes to bring in young players, he's signed Under-21s from last season like Scott Carson, Ashley Young and Nigel Reo-Coker," Gardner added.
"He gives us a lot of praise in training and has a laugh as well. He has to take a lot of credit for getting the best out of the young players at the club." n On-loan defender Gary Cahill has dismissed reports he is set for a permanent move to Sheffield United.
The Aston Villa player is highly thought of at Bramall Lane after joining the club on a three-month loan deal which expires in December.
Reports had suggested Blades boss Bryan Robson would move to sign him permanently when the transfer window opens in January but Cahill insists that he wants to be playing for Villa in the Premier League.
He told Villa's official website, www.avfc.co.uk: "I don't know where that has come from because I haven't spoken to the manager here or the manager
back at Villa about that.
"There was nothing said at any time that it could become permanent. The manager knocked
back my loan the first time and he said that he didn't want me to go.
"I've got an apartment in Sheffield and it is
comfortable being near people that I know. But I am due back at Villa on December 18. My home and my career still lie in Birmingham."