GARETH Southgate has praised Middlesbrough duo Ben Gibson and Patrick Bamford after picking the pair in his England Under-21 squad.
The in-form duo are in the squad for the friendly with Germany at the Riverside stadium on Monday, March 30.
They are part of a 24-man squad that will also take on this summer’s European Championships hosts Czech Republic, in Prague, on Friday, March 27.
Southgate said: “Patrick is in really good form and he’s picked a really good moment [to find that].
“He’s a goal scorer and someone who doesn’t need too many chances to make his mark. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and is enjoying more and more responsibility in the side.”
Southgate added: “Ben’s development gives encouragement for everyone.”
There was no North East representatives in Roy Hodgson’s senior squad for matches against Lithuania and Italy, although former Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson is in the squad.
England squad - Lithuania and Italy.
J Hart (Manchester City), F Forster (Southampton); L Baines (Everton), G Cahill (Chelsea), N Clyne (Southampton), K Gibbs (Arsenal), P Jagielka (Everton), P Jones (Manchester United), L Shaw (Manchester United), C Smalling (Manchester United), K Walker (Tottenham); R Barkley (Everton), M Carrick (Manchester United), F Delph (Aston Villa), J Henderson (Liverpool), A Lallana (Liverpool), J Milner (Manchester City); R Sterling (Liverpool), A Townsend (Tottenham), T Walcott (Arsenal), H Kane (Tottenham), W Rooney (Manchester United), D Sturridge (Liverpool), D Welbeck (Arsenal).
England Under-21 squad - Czech Republic and Germany.
M Bettinelli (Fulham), J Bond (Watford), J Butland (Stoke); C Chambers (Arsenal), E Dier (Tottenham), L Garbutt (Everton), B Gibson (Middlesbrough), C Jenkinson (West Ham, loan from Arsenal), M Keane (Burnley), L Moore (Brentford, loan from Leicester), J Stones (Everton), M Targett (Southampton); T Carroll (Swansea - loan from Tottenham), N Chalobah (Reading - loan from Chelsea), J Forster-Caskey (Brighton), W Hughes (Derby), J Lingard (Derby - loan from Manchester United), A Pritchard (Brentford - loan from Tottenham), N Redmond (Norwich), J Ward-Prowse (Southampton); P Bamford (Middlesbrough - loan from Chelsea), S Berahino (West Brom), D Ings (Burnley), C Wilson (Bournemouth).