SIMON Marsh could be competing against his old Oxford United teammate Darren Purse for one of the England Under 21 centre back positions after both defenders got the call for the prestigious Toulon Tournament which starts tomorrow.

Marsh was named yesterday in a final 18-man squad, along with Birmingham City's Purse, after impressing boss Peter Taylor in a two-day training camp.

But his Oxford United teammate Paul Powell, who was ill with a virus on Monday, missed the plane to France after failing to make it into the final squad of 16 outfield players and two keepers.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Oxford Mail, although Marsh has played most of his games for United at left back, he may get his chance as a central defender in England's Group A games against hosts France, South Africa and Argentina.

"It was as centre back at QPR that Peter Taylor first saw him, so he may want to use him there,'' said Simon's father Gerry, who spoke to his son after his inclusion in the travelling party.

He added: "Simon's over the moon to get in the final squad. He actually got a bit of sunstroke during training on Monday but he was well enough to go and is really looking forward to it.''

England Under 21s: Simonsen (Tranmere), Lucas (Preston), Clegg (Man Utd), Curtis (Man Utd), Rogers (Nottm Forest), Howe (Bournemouth), Purse (Birmingham), Marsh (Oxford Utd), Kozluk (Derby), Elliott (Derby), Carragher (Liverpool), Lampard (West Ham), Oakley (Southampton), Clemence (Tottenham), Heskey (Leicester), Euell (Wimbledon), Allen (Tottenham), Bent (C Palace).

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